Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), announced the winners of their 2020 awards this week.
Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) has announced the winners of its 2020 awards.
IRE, founded in 1975, is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to training and supporting journalists who pursue investigative stories.
This year’s winners were selected from more than 400 entries. The awards, given since 1979, recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. The contest covers 17 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes.
“This year’s award winners showed how powerful people and institutions have harmed our most vulnerable populations from nursing home residents in Indiana to palm oil workers in Southeast Asia,” says Jennifer LaFleur, an IRE board member and chair of the IRE Awards contest committee.
”All the while, the journalists were dealing with working during a pandemic and economic hardships. Though told across many different platforms, these stories were not only deeply investigated pieces, but beautifully told. Judging IRE’s award entries was the most inspiring thing I have done in the last year.”
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KNXV Phoenix — Dave Biscobing, Gerard Watson, Lauren Wilson, Shawn Martin and Mark Casey
Judges’ comments: Full Disclosure truly lived up to its name by exposing a broken system in Arizona where law enforcement agencies fail to track dishonest and criminal officers. The investigation reveals how Brady cops stayed on the beat and continued to rack up misconduct complaints and in some cases, sent innocent people to jail. More importantly, this was true public service journalism as the team compiled its own Brady database and made it available to the public. Full Disclosure not only exposed wrongs and held the powerful accountable, but by creating a first of its kind database, the team provides an example of what other journalists can do to track and expose Brady cops in their own communities.
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WVUE New Orleans — Lee Zurik, Cody Lillich, Jon Turnipseed, Mike Schaefer, Kristen Palestina
Judges’ comments: This team exposed a shocking practice by a local sheriff of keeping inmates in holding cells — sometimes dozens to a room for weeks at a time — in an apparent violation of law. Their reporting led to dozens of accounts from former inmates suggesting the practice had gone on for almost a decade, despite the availability of beds in other parts of the jail. Most importantly, this investigation led the sheriff’s office to institute reforms and abide by the law.
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WGME, Portland, Maine — Jon Chrisos, Jack Amrock and Caulin Morrison
Fixing a Flaw for Veterans Lost on the Line
Judges’ comments: Excellent investigative coverage that revealed a potentially fatal flaw in the Veterans Crisis Line. Working off a tip, Jon Chrisos found when veterans called the hotline, help sometimes went to the wrong location instead of the person in need. The agency originally dismissed the problem as rare, but Chrisos showed the government didn’t know how often this happened. This critical coverage put a spotlight on an issue that is not on many people’s radar and, as a result, changed national policy and strengthened a system hundreds of veterans turn to daily.
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