The Outlaw Ocean Project – a journalism experiment supported by Australia’s Judith Neilson Institute – is among winners in this year’s Scripps Howard Awards, announced last Sunday.
Judges selected winners from more than 800 entries across 15 categories, describing the Outlaw Ocean Project as a “trailblazing experiment aimed to solve one of the daunting puzzles for the future of journalism, how to reach and engage young people”.
Organisers the Scripps Howard Foundation say journalism produced by winners of the sixty-ninth awards winners has reformed laws, led to public policy changes and helped shine a light on inequality and misinformation. Presenters announced the winning news organisations and journalists on June 12 during a special program airing on Scripps’ national news network Newsy, but it is to be rebroadcast next Saturday (June 18) at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central time.
Other winners were:
Excellence in Coverage of Breaking News: The Tennessean for “The Floods of Waverly” – The newspaper told the heartbreaking stories of residents impacted by the natural disaster and meticulously documented the community’s enormous loss.
Excellence in Broadcast Local Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard: KUSA-TV and KARE-TV for “Prone” – The investigation exposes the dangers associated with law enforcement’s practice of holding a suspect facedown, handcuffed and under the weight of an officer.
Excellence in Broadcast National/International Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard: ABC News for “Blindsided/Out of Bounds” – The series exposed how the NFL pushed doctors to use race-norming when choosing which former players got paid in the league’s concussion settlement.
Excellence in Business/Financial Reporting: ProPublica for “The Secret IRS Files” – The series ignited a worldwide debate about wealth and inequality.
Excellence in Environmental Reporting, honoring Edward W. “Ted” Scripps II: ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and Mountain State Spotlight for “Sacrifice Zones: Mapping Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution” – The data analysis countered years of assurances from environmental regulators and corporate spokespeople that the air being emitted into nearby neighborhoods was safe to breathe.
Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, honoring Edward Willis Scripps: The Arizona Republic for “Democracy in Doubt” – The investigation showed Arizona’s so-called “audit” of ballots was partisan, incompetent and reckless in its conclusions.
Excellence in Human Interest Storytelling, honoring Ernie Pyle: The Boston Globe for “Under the Wheel” – An investigation into what Boston police call “dynasty families.”
Excellence in Innovation, honoring Roy W. Howard: The Outlaw Ocean Project for “The Outlaw Ocean Music Project” – This trailblazing experiment aimed to solve one of the daunting puzzles for the future of journalism, how to reach and engage young people. Judges said the “groundbreaking and innovative approach uses various music genres to get the attention of younger and diverse audiences and draw them to the news stories. The collaboration between two kinds of storytellers – journalists and musicians – touched my soul and pulled at my spirit.”
Excellence in Local/Regional Investigative Reporting: Miami Herald for “House of Cards” – The work covering the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., effectively demonstrated not only what happened, but why.
Excellence in National/International Investigative Reporting, the Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize: ICIJ, The Washington Post and media partners for “Pandora Papers” – The global investigation involved more than 600 journalists at more than 140 news outlets in 117 countries. It prompted 20 investigations, toppled multiple governments around the world, and led to anti-money laundering reform in the U.S.
Excellence in Multimedia Journalism: Frontline (PBS) for “Un(re)solved” – The multimedia experience includes a serialized podcast, augmented-reality installation and documentary.
Excellence in Opinion Writing: City Hall Columnist Heather Knight for the San Francisco Chronicle – Her columns have forced Bay Area public officials to act on such important issues as rampant drug abuse, homelessness, affordable housing and school board malfeasance.
Excellence in Radio/Podcast Coverage, honoring Jack R. Howard: NBC News for “Southlake” – The six-episode narrative podcast tells the personal stories of teenagers and their parents’ experience with racism, homophobia and marginalisation. Southlake’s controversy is a piece of the bigger story of the nationwide debates over critical race theory in schools following the 2020 murder of George Floyd.
Excellence in Visual Journalism: The Associated Press for “The Cost of War” – A definitive account of the destructive 11-day war between Hamas and Israel.
Impact Award: ICIJ, The Washington Post and media partners for “Pandora Papers” – The massive, data-driven investigation was deemed to have had the greatest impact from the list of 2021 winners. “Pandora Papers” enlightened the globe on how people in powerful positions wield money and power in a way that threatens the survival of fragile democracies. As a result of the investigation, world leaders have been held accountable and voted out of office, governments have collapsed, investigations were launched and money laundering laws have been reformed.
Finalists for the Impact Award: Los Angeles Times – “Extreme Heat’s Deadly Toll”; ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and Mountain State Spotlight – “Sacrifice Zones: Mapping Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution”