Credit: Molly Mendoza

Each year, the Sidney Hillman Foundation honors a group of reporters who illuminate the great issues of our times through public service journalism. 

This year, the foundation honored Reveal reporters Aura Bogado and Melissa Lewis for The Disappeared, an investigation that showed the U.S. government held migrant children in custody for far longer than was previously known. Nearly 1,000 children had been held for longer than a year, the reporters found. To tell the stories, they investigated the story of one girl who’d been separated from her family for six years without explanation. 

In its announcement, the judges pointed out that this year’s prize winners were responsible for significant positive impact, noting that Bogado and Lewis’ reporting had helped the family reconnect after being separated for so long. 

The Hillman judges were: author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jelani Cobb and Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, Reuters’ Alix Freedman, The American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel.

“We have been living with this pandemic now for more than a year, and the losses have been staggering,” vanden Heuvel said. “But the pandemic has not stopped journalists who, despite so many difficulties and dangers, persisted in bringing us the news and information we so badly needed and held those in positions of power to account. This year’s Hillman Prize winners remind us that public-interest journalism can still change lives and spur desperately needed reforms.”

This is the second straight year that Lewis has won the award for her work at Reveal. 

Earlier this month, The Disappeared also won the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors award for work that furthers public access to government records. 

You can read Part 1 and Part 2 of the story or listen to the podcast. See full list of Hillman winners here.