For Immediate Release
Steve Carpinelli (202) 481-1225
Center for Public Integrity Wins Knight-Batten and Society of Environmental Journalists Honors for Outstanding Online Investigative Journalism
WASHINGTON - For
the first time ever, the Center for Public Integrity has won a
prestigious Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism. Three of
the Center's investigative projects were cited in honoring the Center's
body of work with a Special Distinction Award in the nonprofit category. Additionally, the
Center for Public Integrity won first and second place in the Society
of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Awards for Reporting on the
Environment in the outstanding online reporting category. These are the
Center's fourth and fifth SEJ awards, which are recognized as the world's largest and most comprehensive awards for journalism on environmental topics.
"It is a tremendous honor to have the
Knight-Batten Awards and SEJ both recognize the quality of the Center
for Public Integrity's investigative journalism and our innovative uses
of digital tools to report on complex topics," said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. "These
awards honor a dedicated team of watch-dog journalists who are digging
into the important issues of our day and reaching diverse audiences
around the globe."
The three major Center projects honored with a Knight-Batten Special Distinction Award for Innovations in Journalism include: Broken Government, Tobacco Underground, and Who's Behind the Financial Meltdown?
The Broken Government
project was an intensive six-month Center effort that examined more
than 120 executive branch failures during the Bush administration. The
project drew sustained media coverage and web traffic, while also
encouraging readers to rank the failures. Tobacco Underground exposed
the illicit global multibillion-dollar trafficking of the world's most
widely smuggled legal substance. The project, by the Center's
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, featured more
than a dozen stories written by 17 journalists in 13 countries. Who's Behind the Financial Meltdown?
is the first project to document The Subprime 25 - the top 25
originators of high-interest loans widely blamed for sparking the
current financial meltdown. The interactive site utilized
state-of-the-art mapping technology to show where the Subprime 25
lenders originated most of their high-interest mortgages during the
peak and collapse of the subprime boom.
This year's Knight-Batten winners
were selected from 92 entries. The winners will showcase their projects
during a September 17 symposium at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
The Center's comprehensive Hidden Costs of Clean Coal project was awarded first place in the Society of Environmental Journalists awards. Second place went to the Center's Perils of the New Pesticides
project. The SEJ judging committee scrutinized more than 187 entries to
choose finalists representing the best environmental reporting in
print, on television, radio, and the Internet. The judges described the Hidden Costs of Clean Coal
as "powerful storytelling" and "intensely personal," and declared that
"in an age of increasingly shallow reports dominating the Internet,
it's refreshing - and vital - to see a package so richly reported and
explained in such an engaging and detailed way."
The Center's work focused on the
dramatic destruction inflicted by longwall mining machines and by the
proliferation of coal ash dumps across the country. The project features multimedia websites with magazine articles ("The Big Seep," "Undermined," and Coal Ash: The Hidden Story), a video, a document library, and a slideshow on one of the country's largest longwall mines.
The Center's second place story, Perils of the New Pesticides,
is a data-driven analysis of adverse reaction reports filed by
pesticide manufacturers with the Environmental Protection Agency. The
investigation found that pyrethroids, a synthetic pesticide created as
a safer alternative to an earlier class of pesticides and used in
thousands of household products, from bug repellants to pet shampoos, were responsible for more than a quarter of all major and moderate human incidents involving pesticides in the United States. This investigative series included four stories, a searchable database, and a photo gallery of injured pets and their owners.
SEJ judges described the "astounding set of statistics" uncovered in Perils of the New Pesticides as
a "startling revelation" that provided a "great public service for
people with asthma and allergies as well as pet owners." The
interactive database was also recognized for its providing a valuable
"After nearly 20 years of excelling
in nonprofit investigative journalism," said Marianne Szegedy-Maszak,
the Center for Public Integrity's Board Chair, "it is thrilling to see
that the quality of the Center's work continues to command respect and
attention from so many important organizations and peers."
Organizational support for the Center for Public Integrity and for these projects was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, Greenlight Capital Employees, the Heinz Endowments, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Open Society Institute, the Park Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and other generous institutional and individual donors.
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