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Nonprofit News Outlets Earn Recognition for Impactful Journalism

AV is proud to support the nonprofit news outlets recently recognized for producing journalism that is driving change.

A couple stands in front of a sign that reads Pray for Uvalde.
The Texas Tribune's coverage of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, earned a Breaking News award from the Online News Association. (Getty Images)

As the nonprofit news industry continues to expand and grow — adding more reporters, reaching new audiences and pulling off ambitious reporting projects — nonprofit news outlets are achieving recognition for producing journalism that is driving change. Two respected institutions — the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Online News Association — recently announced winners of their coveted journalism awards. Arnold Ventures is a proud supporter of the following organizations:

Spotlight PA

Game-Changer, INN, & Investigative Journalism, INN

Spotlight PA, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit news outlet focused on covering state government, earned accolades from INN for its dogged coverage of redistricting, including dedicating an entire reporting position to the subject. Spotlight PA’s reporters examined legal challenges to the redrawn political maps — including a case that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider; explained complicated legal doctrine; and revealed that state lawmakers spent millions in taxpayer dollars on lawyers and experts as they jockeyed for their preferred new district boundaries. 

A Spotlight PA investigation found that the state’s labor and industry department erroneously charged hundreds of thousands of people an inflated interest rate” when collecting money from those who had been overcompensated in unemployment benefits. Spotlight PA’s reporting, which spurred the agency to agree to issue $14 million in refunds to thousands of Pennsylvanians, earned INN’s top award for investigative journalism.

The Trace

General Excellence, ONA

As gun violence surged during the pandemic, The Trace — a nonprofit news outlet dedicated exclusively to covering gun violence — sprang into gear, producing a multitude of stories examining the epidemic of gun violence from every angle. From firearms regulations to a careful examination of increases in youth suicide, The Trace has been at the forefront of a rapidly evolving crisis with clear, factual and nonpartisan information. 

The Texas Tribune

Breaking News, ONA

When a gunman murdered 19 elementary school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, The Texas Tribune responded to the unfolding tragedy with a compassionate and exhaustive examination of the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, documenting the community’s grief while also investigating the systemic dysfunctions that enabled the shooting and holding government officials to account. The coverage involved every team at the 50-member newsroom, with editor Sewell Chan dispatching to Uvalde to assist in reporting. To help journalists cope with the tragedy, The Texas Tribune rotated journalists in and out of Uvalde and brought in the Dart Center for guidance on trauma-informed journalistic practices.

The Marshall Project

Community Champion, INN & Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships, ONA

An exhaustive examination by nonprofit criminal justice outlet The Marshall Project found that the judges in Cleveland, Ohio, who decide the fates of felony defendants who are mostly Black have been voted into office primarily by white, suburban voters. In partnership with other local collaborators, The Marshall Project found that the people with the most at stake often don’t cast ballots” in the races that decide judges.

The Marshall Project’s joint investigation of a juvenile facility in Louisiana found that children were mistreated and living in deplorable conditions. The center was locking young teens in around-the-clock solitary confinement, shackling children, forcing them to sleep on the floor, and denying them a basic education. One expert interviewed by reporters characterized the conditions of the Acadiana Center for Youth at St. Martinville as child abuse.” The reporting resulted in two committee hearings hosted by state lawmakers and the advancing of a new bill placing strict limits on solitary confinement for children.

Center for Public Integrity

Explanatory Journalism, INN & Topical Reporting: Pandemic Coverage, ONA

More than a decade after the Affordable Care Act passed — incentivizing states to expand Medicaid — the nonprofit investigative outlet Center for Public Integrity conducted a joint investigation that found that states that refused to expand Medicaid have helped fuel rural poverty in the Deep South. In addition to its reporting, the Center for Public Integrity produced a resource guide to help readers navigate the complicated Medicaid program.

In addition, a joint investigation by the Center for Public earned recognition from ONA for its hard-fought efforts to understand the delays in federal Covid aid designed to help renters in danger of eviction. A CPI reporter contacted every state and local program and discovered that — a year after aid was made available — $425 million had yet to be disbursed, leaving tenants and landlords in limbo.

El Paso Matters

Startup of the Year, INN 

A fledgling nonprofit news organization in West Texas, El Paso Matters seeks to cover its city with depth and rigor, with an accountability focus on local government and key institutions. In its Startup of the Year award, INN lauded El Paso Matters for its consistently strong reporting and tenacious journalism on thorny issues, from voters disenfranchised by the state’s more restrictive voting requirements to the impact of immigration along the border. 

International Consortium of Journalists (ICIJ)

Journalism Collaboration

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ wide-reaching Pandora Papers investigation involved more than 600 journalists from 151 news organizations and 117 countries. They culled through nearly 12 million documents; triggered more than 20 official investigations; prompted voters to oust the Czech Republic’s prime minister; led to the introduction of bipartisan Congressional legislation that would serve as the most significant reform to America’s anti-money laundering laws in a generation; and spurred the impeachment of President Piñera of Chile.

The Pulitzer Center

Feature, Small Newsroom, ONA

The Pulitzer Center, a nonprofit organization that provides direct support for global enterprise reporting, teamed up with other outlets in a year-long investigation that exposed a shell game” between Congress, the state of Alaska and the National Forest Service that led to clear-cutting of swathes of an important national forest in Alaska that serves as a vital source for sequestering carbon. The reporting involved map analysis, annotation, graphic elements, public radio, and drone photography to capture a fulsome picture of the destruction.

Finalists

CalMatters

Series examining the state’s history of drought, Finalist, Explanatory Reporting, Medium Newsroom, ONA

Outgunned, Finalist, Feature, Medium Newsroom, ONA

Center for Public Integrity

Joint examination of the wealth gap between Black and white Americans, Honorable Mention, Insight Award for Explanatory Journalism, Super Newsroom, INN & Finalist, Explanatory Reporting, Small Newsroom, ONA

Project examining how law enforcement and courts are used to respond to kids’ conduct, Honorable Mention, Best Investigative Journalism, Super Newsroom, INN

Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

Medioscopio,” Honorable Mention, Community Champion Award, Large Newsroom, INN

Hechinger Report

heartbreaking account of children orphaned by Covid, Honorable Mention, Breaking Barriers Award, Super Newsroom, INN

ICIJ

Pandora Papers, Finalist, Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Large Newsroom, ONA

Kaiser Health News

A series examining Covid risks in hospitals, Finalist, Topical Reporting: Pandemic Coverage, Portfolio, ONA

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Series on a dangerous flea and tick product that has spurred a Congressional investigation, Honorable Mention, Best Investigative Journalism, Medium Newsroom, INN

Spotlight PA

Privileged Information” investigation, Honorable Mention, Best Investigative Journalism, Large Newsroom, INN

A story on the state’s flawed oversight system for drug treatment facilities, Feature, Small Newsroom, ONA & Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Small Newsroom, ONA

The Texas Tribune

Reporting on gender affirming care, Honorable Mention, Insight Award for Explanatory Journalism, Super Newsroom, INN 

Coverage of redistricting and the coverage of maternity care deserts, Honorable Mention, Community Champion Award, Super Newsroom, INN 

Coverage of Afghan refugees resettling in Texas, Honorable Mention, Insight Award for Visual Journalism, Super Newsroom, INN

Coverage of state policy and politics, Finalist, General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Newsroom, ONA

The Markup

Mission to conduct data-driven investigations and coverage of big tech, Finalist, General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Newsroom, ONA

Project on discriminatory lending practices, Finalist, Excellence in Social Justice Reporting, Portfolio, ONA

The Marshall Project

Anatomy of a Murder Confession,” Honorable Mention, Insight Award for Visual Journalism, Super Newsroom, INN

Joint investigation of a Louisiana juvenile facility, Honorable Mention, Journalism Collaboration of the Year, INN

Criminal justice coverage, Finalist, General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Newsroom, ONA

Collaboration on the Covid crisis in prison, Finalist, Explanatory Reporting, Large Newsroom, ONA & Finalist, Topical Reporting: Pandemic Coverage, Portfolio, ONA

The Trace

story on California’s failure to track guns used in crimes, Honorable Mention, Best Investigative Journalism, Super Newsroom, INN 

Up the Block” series, Honorable Mention, Community Champion Award, Large Newsroom, INN

Co-investigation on the modern machine gun, Finalist, Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships, ONA

Type Investigation

A joint investigation of prosecutors using rap lyrics to argue defendants’ guilt, Finalist, Excellence in Social Justice Reporting, Single Story, ONA

Wisconsin Watch

visual essay on polluted waterways, Honorable Mention, Insight Award for Visual Journalism, Large Newsroom, INN

Grants

Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.

Map of the U.S. made of Arnold Ventures icons