The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, or NLGJA, has named ProPublica’s Ken Schwencke the winner of its Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism for his report, “Why America Fails at Gathering Hate Crime Statistics.”
The piece, part of ProPublica’s Documenting Hate coverage, detailed how the FBI has long relied on local agencies to collect and submit hate crimes data but many have fumbled the task, routinely under- or misreporting hate crimes. In several cases, law enforcement officials didn’t understand what constitutes a hate crime, when to report them to the government, or what the toll can be on an already marginalized community.
Following Schwencke’s investigation, the Miami-Dade Police Department started an internal audit on how they track hate crimes — finding at least four cases that they had failed to report to the state. A spokesman for the department also told Schwencke that they are creating a digital hate crime reporting process as a result of his work.
Recognizing the lack of reliable data on hate crimes and their prevalence, ProPublica launched Documenting Hate in 2016 to collect and verify reports, building a database of tips with a coalition of more than 140 partner newsrooms.
See more on NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards here.