Five investigations by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting from 2017 have received recognition in recent weeks.
The Wall, a multiplatform project tracing the hurdles to building a wall on the U.S-Mexico border, received first place in Best of the West for the radio episode/podcast version, Up Against the Wall. The judges called the work ambitious, noting that it “serves as a model for what can be achieved when several talented journalists work together to tackle an enormous topic.”
“Through sound-rich storytelling, the episode brought to life the nuances of border security policy and what could change under the Trump administration,” they added. “Reporting on Israel’s border as a comparative case study and a deep dive into one family’s tragic, personal story of loss at the border added to the richness of the episode.”
They also noted the value added by Reveal’s comprehensive interactive map of existing border barriers, which informed all aspects of the project. It has since been open-sourced and used as the foundation of border projects by many other media outlets. “The cherry on top,” the judges said, was the translation of that fencing data into sound, creating music for the podcast.
Best of the West also awarded third place in investigative reporting to Shipbuilders, which uncovered unsafe working conditions leading to injuries and deaths – and a lack of government accountability. The shipyards operate primarily on government contracts, building vessels for the U.S. military and Coast Guard. The investigation led to a new law that requires the Government Accountability Office to examine how the Pentagon evaluates workplace safety violations among defense contractors.
All Work. No Pay, which exposed drug rehabilitation programs that were little more than work camps, was a finalist in the radio/audio category of the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards. Separately, four text stories from the series were chosen as a finalist for a digital media award from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. As a result of the series, at least four government investigations have been launched; four class-action lawsuits have been filed; and companies, including a Coca-Cola bottling plant, have stopped using the unpaid workers.
The foundation also selected Misconceptions as a finalist in the radio/TV category. The Reveal episode illustrated the lethal combination of desperate parents and greedy doctors, exposing flaws in the in-vitro fertilization system that are almost unfathomable. From poor government oversight of clinics to a paucity of reliable information available to prospective parents, the episode made it clear that this is an industry ripe for a reboot.
Winners of those health care awards will be announced later this month.
Street Fight, a Reveal podcast centered on a clash between alt-right activists and anti-fascists in Berkeley, California, is an honoree in the Webby Awards, an international award for excellence on the internet. The episode begins with host Al Letson shielding an alt-right protester from a beating and radiates out from there, tracing the political and personal paths to the fight that day.