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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A heartbreaking account of children orphaned by Covid, Honorable Mention, Breaking Barriers Award, Super Newsroom, INN
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
“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 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
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
A 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
A joint investigation of prosecutors using rap lyrics to argue defendants’ guilt, Finalist, Excellence in Social Justice Reporting, Single Story, ONA
A visual essay on polluted waterways, Honorable Mention, Insight Award for Visual Journalism, Large Newsroom, INN