2021 – Online


Online investigative reporting for digital-only website

First Place and BEST IN SHOW
“The CIA’s Afghan Death Squad”
Andrew Quilty
The Intercept
Judges’ comments: This shocking and meticulously reported story exposed the CIA-supported murders of dozens of Afghan children and civilians that can only be described as unprosecuted war crimes. Reporter Andrew Quilty painstakingly pieced together one of the darkest chapters of the Afghanistan War, where women and children as young as eight were summarily executed by CIA-trained paramilitary units that were supported by American air power and advisers – who helped select civilian targets, called “jackpots,” in 10 raids.

Second Place
“Hot Molecules: Low Hanging Greenhouse Gases”
Phil McKenna, Lili Pike, Katrina Northrop and Feng Hao
Inside Climate News

Third Place
“Probing Liberty University”
Maggie Severns, Brandon Ambrosino

Online investigative reporting for digital partnerships with other news outlets

First Place
“Mauled: When Police Dogs Are Weapons”
Staff of The Marshall Project, AL.com, the Indianapolis Star and the Invisible Institute
Judges’ comments: Two media outlets in different parts of the country were working on stories about violent incidents involving K-9 police dogs. They learned of the other’s investigations and decided to join efforts. The eventual team of four produced a powerful and timely investigation that has prompted national conversations around the use of police dogs. Well-sourced and compelling storytelling, solid data and tangible results — including several states revising ways K-9s are deployed — propelled this story to the top of a very competitive category.

Second Place
“Superfund Super Threats: Climate-Vulnerable Toxic Sites Near You”
Staff of Inside Climate News, NBC News and The Texas Observer

Third Place
“Domestic Terror in the Age of Trump”
David Neiwert
Type Investigations

Online beat coverage

First Place
Laurel Rosenhall CalMatters
Judges’ comments: Laurel Rosenhall’s coverage of the California statehouse should be required reading for all statehouse reporters in the country. Her beat coverage this year offered several sure-to-outrage-citizens stories, including how politicians are allowed to set up nonprofits to accept unlimited donations. Her work generates change and is made even more notable by the fact she writes 70 or more stories a year.

Second Place
“Effects of a dysfunctional U.S. Postal Service”
Wallace McKelvey
PennLive and Patriot-News

Third Place
“Out for Blood: Donald Trump’s Federal Execution Program”
Liliana Segura
The Intercept

Best blog

First Place
“Bill of the Month”
Kaiser Health News and NPR
Judges’ comments: This partnership between Kaiser Health News and NPR means more now than ever, explaining medical bills and the cost of health care in the United States. It is thorough and full of good information, written and reported clearly and skillfully, with not just numbers, but humanity.

Second Place
“Humane Creativity: Art in the Time of Reckoning and a Pandemic”
Michael Cavna
The Washington Post

Third Place
Mary C. Curtis
CQ Roll Call

Online video up to three minutes

First Place
“Surviving the shutdown: Among the L.A. taqueros”
Steve Saldivar
Los Angeles Times
Judges’ comments: This is a poignant, focused look at the toll the coronavirus is having on not just businesses and workers but also their families. It shows the often invisible victims through beautiful videography and storytelling.

Second Place
“Protesters march down Nautical Mile”
Steve Langford, Alexa Coveney and Raychel Brightman

Third Place
“11-story tower remains after implosion”
Juan Figueroa
The Dallas Morning News

Online video 3 to 10 minutes

First Place
“60 In 6: How We Got Here”
Wesley Lowery, Ayesha Siddiqi, Emily Cameron and Peter Berman
CBS News
Judges’ comments: Many news organizations dropped into Minneapolis to cover this story, but few offered this level of timely, authoritative, and concise storytelling. “How We Got Here,” went deeper than the tension and protests that followed the death of George Floyd to deliver a nuanced narrative that went behind the calls to “defund the police.”

Second Place
“At 91, she returned to Auschwitz with her family, one last time”
Lauren Schneiderman
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Third Place
“How ICE Exported the Coronavirus”
Emily Kassie and Barbara Marcolini
The Marshall Project and The New York Times

Online video 10 to 30 minutes

First Place
“The Imperfect Alibi: An AJC Short Documentary”
Ryon Horne, Tyson Horne, Hyosub Shin and Joshua Sharpe
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Judges’ comments: It is the kind of story reporters dream of, uncovering information to free an innocent man from prison, and Joshua Sharpe of the AJC provided a template for how it’s done. This haunting video presentation follows his painstaking persistence as he digs through hundreds of pages of case files, tracks down witnesses, suspects and previous investigators. In the end it all pays off with a wrongfully convicted man rejoining his family and the world.

Second Place
“Anatomy of Hate”
Emily Kassie
The Marshall Project and TIME

Third Place
“How a nearly all-white Iowa city is trying to shed its racist image”
Jackeline Luna, Maggie Beidelman and Tyrone Beason
Los Angeles Times

Digital presentation of a single news topic

First Place
“One Week in Minneapolis”
Anna Boone
Star Tribune
Judges’ comments: As her colleagues worked feverishly to update the story — on multiple platforms and in real time — digital designer Anna Boone stepped into the chaos and assembled a powerful multimedia retrospective of the week following the death of George Floyd. Drawing on the work of dozens of reporters, editors and photographers, she pulled it together even as the news continued to unfold around her. Clear-eyed storytelling in an unconventional format. Exceptionally well done.

Second Place
“The Imperfect Alibi: The forgotten suspect, the DNA and the church murders that haunted a detective”
Product, Visuals, Digital and News teams
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Third Place
“The Grumman Plume: Decades of Deceit”
Newsday staff

Digital presentation of a single features topic

First Place
“The COVID-19 Death of a Hospital Worker”
Eric Boodman
Judges’ comments: Eric Boodman’s story about the death, and life of Marie Deus, a Boston hospital worker, was impossible to pull away from. From the hard facts of her job, and the circumstances around it, to the softness of the love her family had for her, to the irony of her being a Purell enthusiast and the small details of things like the fish she used to cook … the painful loss of this woman, and hard worker, was turned into a gorgeous piece of journalism.

Second Place
“Black At The Ballot”
Taryn Finley, Philip Lewis and Erin E. Evans

Third Place
“2020 Gallery”
The Public’s Radio
The Public’s Radio staff

Social media

First Place
“The Killing of George Floyd”
Colleen Kelly, Alexis Allston and Anna Boone
Star Tribune
Judges’ comments: The social media coverage of the killing of George Floyd became the hub of the Star Tribune’s reporting, where breaking news, photos, videos and explainers were posted as the fast-moving events unfolded. Their “Twitter Moments,” IGTV and YouTube videos captured history in real time.

Second Place
“Election 2020”
Detroit Free Press staff
Detroit Free Press

Third Place
Kengo Tsutsumi, Lisa Larson-Walker, Maya Eliahou and Logan Jaffe

Online slideshow

First Place
Houston Chronicle staff
Houston Chronicle
Judges’ comments: Portaits and short stories of those affected by the pandemic. The second entry was disqualified.

No second- or third-place award given

Narrative podcast

First Place
“Timber Wars”
Aaron Scott, David Steves, Peter Frick-Wright and Robbie Carver
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Judges’ comments: Old growth trees. High emotions. Those are the ingredients in this excellent podcast series. While replete with a wonderful historic account of the environmental battle of the 1990s, the series also brought excellent context for today’s citizens.

Second Place
Where It Hurts – Season One: “No Mercy”
Where It Hurts Podcast Team
KHN and St. Louis Public Radio

Third Place
“Offshore Season 4: Far From Home”
Honolulu Civil Beat staff

Information podcast

First Place
“Brought to you by…”
Julia Press, Sarah Wyman and Charlie Herman
Judges’ comments: A delightful podcast series focused on “Brands you know, history you don’t”. And wow, it delivers — fascinating glimpses in well-produced segments. Listening to Pan Am flight attendants talking about the Vietnam war convoys they flew was both enlightening and emotional. The list continued with the very enjoyable history of big brands in capitalism.

Second Place
Ellen Huet and Shawn Wen

Third Place
“Embodied: Building Empathy With A Shame-Free Show”
Anita Rao
North Carolina Public Radio WUNC

Criminal justice and/or crime podcast

First Place
The Intercept staff
The Intercept
Judges’ comments: Shapearl Wells came up against a wall of state secrecy when she decided to investigate her son’s death. Together with Topic Studios, The Intercept and The Invisible Institute, she came up with enough new and surprising information that Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General has opened an investigation into the case. Her relentless research gained compelling results that are presented in an impressive podcast.

Second Place
“Blood River”
Monte Reel and Topher Forhecz

Third Place
“Al Jazeera Investigates – The Cyprus Papers Undercover: The Aftermath”
Al Jazeera I Unit
Al Jazeera Media Network

Online pandemic coverage/project

First Place
“KHN Covers Coronavirus From All Angles”
Kaiser Health News in collaboration with The Associated Press and The Guardian
Judges’ comments: COVID-19 was the story that Kaiser Health News was born to cover. With blanket coverage, the staff rose to the occasion with spot news, analysis, in-depth features and more. The work they did with media partners is to be highly lauded. Well done!

Second Place
“The sweeping impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated people in the U.S.” Staff of The Marshall Project

Third Place
Helen Branswell and Sharon Begley