The New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded ProPublica’s “The Rent Racket” series the Deadline Club Award for digital local news reporting.
The series documented how backroom deals and a lack of official oversight have undermined legal protections for New York City tenants. Reporters Cezary Podkul and Marcelo Rochabrun, along with research editor Derek Kravitz, found that landlords and developers were enjoying massive tax breaks in return for agreeing to limit rent hikes – only to break their promises, which city and state officials failed to enforce.
Following the series, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a large-scale enforcement program, saying that building owners who fail to follow the law will lose their tax breaks. In addition, officials from the city housing authority and finance department have pledged to end the practice of granting the tax benefit without checking to make sure landlords comply with the rent rules.
ProPublica’s collaboration with the New York Daily News, which investigated abuses in the New York City Police Department’s enforcement of nuisance abatement actions, was a finalist for the Deadline Club Award for local news reporting, as well as for minority focus. Another ProPublica series in partnership with the Texas Tribune,” on how a major hurricane could devastate the Houston region, was a finalist in the digital innovation category.
See a list of all the 2017 Deadline Club Award winners here.