Elon Musk called our Tesla reporting “carefully constructed propaganda with a name that (would) make Orwell proud.”

Judges for the Investigative Reporters and Editors awards, on the other hand, said: “We loved how Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX exposed what real life is like for the people behind the luxury products. The journalists here pulled back the curtain on how Tesla prioritized speed over the safety of its factory workers.”

Reveal, PRX and KQED won an IRE Award in the large radio category for “Insult to Injury,” an investigation of safety problems and hidden injuries at Tesla’s electric car factory.

The first radio story looked at the human cost to workers on Tesla’s production line, the warnings from Tesla’s own safety team, and evidence that Tesla papered over problems by undercounting injuries. The second episode showed that the Tesla medical clinic failed to properly care for injured employees as part of a strategy to avoid counting injuries.

The stories were reported by Will Evans and Alyssa Jeong Perry, then working for KQED in San Francisco; produced by Perry and Katharine Mieszkowski; and edited by Taki Telonidis and Ziva Branstetter. Fernando Arruda and Jim Briggs provided the original score, sound design and audio engineering. The project was overseen by Reveal’s executive producer, Kevin Sullivan, and its former editor in chief, Amy Pyle.

Before publication of the first story, Tesla provided a statement calling Reveal “an extremist organization.”

Later, Musk responded with a Twitter rant against the media, calling Reveal “just some rich kids in Berkeley who took their political science prof too seriously.”

“Reveal and PRX persevered in the face of pushback by a powerful public figure and company,” stated the IRE judges. “They packed their report with details that still stick with us today. The investigations spawned by the package prove the story had real impact.”

This week we also learned that we’re finalists for three Peabody Awards, one of the most prestigious honors in broadcast journalism. Our stories make up three of the 11 finalists in the radio/podcast category.

They are:

  • Kept Out, which revealed that African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts. The investigation was done in partnership with PRX, PBS NewsHour and The Associated Press.
  • Monumental Lies, a collaboration with Type Investigations that showed how at least $40 million in public funds has subsidized Confederate monuments and the false history being taught there.
  • My World Was Burning: The Northern California Fires and What Went Wrong, a partnership with KQED that reconstructed what happened the night devastating wildfires ripped through California’s wine country in 2017.


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