“My four months as a private prison guard,” a multi-platform investigation based on Shane Bauer’s immersive reporting, has been nominated for a national Emmy Award. Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting worked with Mother Jones magazine to make a radio documentary on the private prison experience as part of the nominated reporting package.
The story traces Bauer’s experience working for four months as a corrections officer at a prison in rural Louisiana run by Corrections Corporation of America. During his time on the job, Bauer witnessed insufficient staffing, higher rates of violence than at state-run prisons and a lack of adequate medical services. This story has garnered numerous journalism accolades, including a National Magazine Award, and it helped prompt federal reforms around the use of private prisons.
In the radio piece for Reveal, Bauer collaborated with producers Michael I Schiller and Ike Sriskandarajah to bring listeners inside Winn Correctional Center. The feature-length radio story is culled from audio captured inside the prison, Bauer’s nightly video diaries, and interviews with inmates and guards.
“This work took listeners, and readers, into a world they would not otherwise have been able to visit,” said Amy Pyle, editor in chief of Reveal/CIR. “By doing so, the public came face to face with the harsh and ultimately unacceptable realities of some private prisons. That reality, in turn, led to change – the best we can hope for from any investigative reporting.”
“Being nominated for an Emmy for an almost two-year project investigating private prisons is not something I ever thought would happen to a news organization that got its start in print,” said Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones’ editor in chief. “Mother Jones took big risks to make this story happen, and thanks to the incredible undercover work of Shane Bauer, the marvelous videos by James West – who was arrested getting the perfect nighttime pan shot – and our radio partners at Reveal, we’ve reached yet another incredible benchmark. Very grateful to all those who worked so hard and long on this project, and our readers whose support allows us to follow these big stories.”
“My four months as a private prison guard” is nominated in the “Outstanding New Approaches: Current News” category, alongside work from The New York Times and the Council on Foreign Relations. The winners will be announced on Oct. 5 in New York City.