WASHINGTON - April 14 - The Center for Public Integrity's "Well Connected in the States" project has won the Society of Professional Journalists' Public Service in Online Journalism award for 2005.
"Well Connected in the States" used online tools and investigative reporting to explore the critical role state government plays in regulating the telecommunications industry. As part of the project, the Center performed an exhaustive investigation of state public utility boards and the dearth of citizen advocates among their ranks.
SPJ President David Carlson praised the Center's work as a model for others. "'Well Connected in the States' is what public service journalism is all about. It should serve as an agent for change in how telecommunication agencies are monitored," he said in a statement.
The Center for Public Integrity's Executive Director Roberta Baskin said of the award: "'Well Connected in the States' was the first project of its kind to examine campaign contributions and lobbying by every major telecommunications company in every state. We're incredibly proud that the Society of Professional Journalists recognized this insightful report and we're honored that this special award comes in the category of public service." Among other honors, the Center has been recognized numerous times by the Investigative Reporters and Editors association and is a recipient of the George Polk Award.
More than 1,200 entries in 49 categories including print, radio, television and online, were submitted for Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi Awards this year. The awards, which recognize work published in 2005, will be presented July 14 during the annual Sigma Delta Chi banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
"Well Connected in the States" was the result of tireless work by the entire Center for Public Integrity staff, in particular "Well Connected" Project Director John Dunbar and Director of State Projects Leah Rush. The project can be viewed on the Center's Web site at: www.publicintegrity.org/telecom/iys.aspx
The Society of Professional Journalists' Public Service in Online Journalism award will be the 31st such honor the Center for Public Integrity has received in the past eight years. Other awards include the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and the George Polk Award.
"Well Connected in the States" is made possible thanks to support from the Ford Foundation and partial support from the Joyce Foundation.