The following excerpt was sent out from spj.org:
This year’s winners are:
— Brett Murphy of ProPublica for his investigation into 911 call analysis
— Lexi Churchill, Vianna Davila, Megan Rose and Ren Larson of ProPublica and The Texas Tribune for documenting military injustice
— City Bureau for its website Documenters.org
— Samantha Hogan of The Maine Monitor for investigating jails that record attorney-client calls
— Perla Trevizo, Lomi Kriel, Andrew Rodriguez Calderón, Jolie McCullough, Keri Blakinger, James Barragán, Davis Winkie and Marilyn Thompson of The Texas Tribune, ProPublica, The Marshall Project and Military Times for their investigation on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border initiative, Operation Lone Star
ProPublica Reporter Brett Murphy first heard about “911 call analysis” while investigating a district attorney’s office accused of a murder case in Louisiana. Murphy documented more than 100 cases in 26 states, interviewed around 120 people and sent more than 80 public records requests to local agencies. His months-long investigation produced a two-part series called “Words of Conviction.”
ProPublica and The Texas Tribune
In December 2021, Congress reached a deal to overhaul the military justice system, stripping commanders of most of their authority to prosecute sexual assaults and several other types of criminal cases. Reporters Lexi Churchill, Vianna Davila, Megan Rose and Ren Larson from ProPublica and The Texas Tribune discovered major gaps in the legislation, as well as commander’s continued influence over the military justice system.
City Bureau created Documenters.org in 2019 with 40 volunteer coders building 93 web scrapers to collect public meeting data across disparate government websites. The base of Documenters.org, City Scrapers, remains an open-source resource that anyone can use and contribute to.
Documenters are local Chicago residents who are trained and paid to take notes at local public meetings, spaces that harbor huge potential for government transparency, but that often receive no media coverage and produce minimal records. This program evolved from a small pilot in Chicago to an expansive network with nine cities across the country and counting.
The Maine Monitor
The investigative reporting project series “Eavesdropping in Maine Jails” documented how nearly 1,000 confidential calls were recorded and shared with investigators by six county jails between June 2019 and May 2020. Samantha Hogan found that dozens of additional phone calls were recorded and listened to by law enforcement, without the knowledge or consent of defense lawyers or their clients.
Hogan made more than 100 public records requests to county sheriff’s offices and jails for call data, policies, inmate handbooks and emails and conducted three dozen interviews with attorneys, defendants, sheriffs and the former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Court.
The Texas Tribune, ProPublica, The Marshall Project and Military Times
The investigative team of Perla Trevizo, Lomi Kriel, Andrew Rodriguez Calderón, Jolie McCullough, Keri Blakinger, James Barragán, Davis Winkie and Marilyn Thompson from The Texas Tribune, ProPublica, The Marshall Project and Military Times investigated Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s claims about his border initiative, Operation Lone Star. Gov. Abbott said that Operation Lone Star would be a multibillion-dollar crackdown on the criminals who were “streaming across the border.”
The winners will be honored during the President’s Awards Banquet at the SPJ23 Journalism Convention in Las Vegas, Sept. 30.