Ken Armstrong

Reporter

Ken Armstrong is a reporter at ProPublica. In 2022, his story with Raquel Rutledge on the intersecting lives of a landlord and a tenant won the National Magazine Award for feature writing. In 2021, he reported with Meribah Knight on a Tennessee county where hundreds of children were illegally jailed. In 2018, his reporting with Christian Sheckler on the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana, led to the police chief’s resignation and to two officers being convicted of felony civil rights charges.

In his career, Armstrong has won or shared in four Pulitzer Prizes. On five other occasions he was a Pulitzer finalist.

At The Marshall Project, Armstrong partnered with ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller on a story about a woman who was charged with lying about being raped. That story won the 2016 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting and became a “This American Life” episode, a book and an eight-part Netflix series, “Unbelievable.” The radio episode and Netflix series both won Peabody Awards.

At The Seattle Times, Armstrong won the 2012 Pulitzer for investigative reporting for a series with Michael Berens that showed how the state of Washington steered Medicaid patients to a cheap but unpredictable painkiller linked to more than 2,000 deaths. He also shared in two staff Pulitzers for breaking news.

At the Chicago Tribune, Armstrong’s reporting with Steve Mills on the failures of Illinois’ death penalty system helped prompt the state’s governor to halt executions and commute 167 death sentences, the largest blanket clemency in the modern era of capital punishment.

In 2009, Armstrong received the John Chancellor Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement. His book with Nick Perry, “Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity,” won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for nonfiction. Armstrong has been a Nieman fellow at Harvard and the McGraw professor of writing at Princeton. He is a graduate of Purdue, where, in 2018, he received an honorary doctorate.

An Unbelievable Story of Rape

An 18-year-old said she was attacked at knifepoint. Then she said she made it up. That’s where our story begins.

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