Inside PublicI

Published — June 11, 2019

Center for Public Integrity wins Kaleidoscope Award for ‘Abandoned in America’

Introduction

In October, the Center for Public Integrity unveiled “Abandoned in America” — a project exploring six communities’ socio-economic woes on the eve of a midterm election when the Trump administration had declared nation’s war on poverty “largely over and a success.”

Today, the Radio Television Digital News Association awarded “Abandoned in America” the 2019 Kaleidoscope Award for “outstanding achievements in the coverage of diversity.”

“Abandoned in America’ married deep data analysis and immersive reporting to tell the stories of Americans who rarely get their stories told,” Center for Public Integrity CEO Susan Smith Richardson said. “We’re honored that the Radio Television Digital News Association recognized the contribution of this project to the public dialogue over how to help suffering Americans, particularly those of color.”

Since October, much has happened — in heartening and harrowing ways — to the six communities the Center for Public Integrity highlighted as part of “Abandoned in America.”

DISASTER RELIEF: This month, Congress passed, and Trump signed, a sweeping disaster relief bill that will in part aid the residents of Robeson County, North Carolina, who have been struck by two killer hurricanes in three years.

PUBLIC EDUCATION: In May, the state of Mississippi took control of the racially segregated public school district in Yazoo City, Mississippi, which ranks among the poorest performing districts in one of the worst U.S. states for public education.

VOTING RIGHTS: A bipartisan group of congressional representatives traveled to the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota in an effort to understand and address fears about residents’ ability to vote freely and fairly.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Twelve years ago, Trump promised a massive development project for the roughest neighborhood in Fresno, California — and then bailed on it. This year, Trump and his administration have attempted to torpedo California’s delayed over-budget high-speed rail project, which nevertheless could dramatically alter the fortunes of Southwest Fresno.

IMMIGRATION: The residents of Presidio, Texas, continue to live in an immigration policy limbo, unsure of whether a physical border wall will divide them from their larger and more affluent sister city in Mexico, which they rely on for some of the basics of life: food, friendship, family.

HOUSING: Affordable housing in cities such as Saint Louis took center stage in May at a turbulent congressional hearing, in which Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson struggled to answer some committee members questions.

The “Abandoned in America” project was written by Carrie Levine, Sarah Kleiner, Lateshia Beachum, Suhauna Hussain, Ashley Balcerzak and Dave Levinthal and edited by Levinthal. Joe Yerardi provided data analysis. Chris Zubak-Skees, Sameea Kamal and Rosie Cima designed the project and its data visualizations.

Several news organizations partnered with the Center for Public Integrity to co-publish and broadcast elements of “Abandoned in America.” They include Public Radio International, PRI’s “The Takeaway,” the Texas Tribune, Mississippi Today, Saint Louis Public Radio, Valley Public Radio in California, Prairie Public in North Dakota, WUNC-FM in North Carolina and WFAE-FM in North Carolina.

The “Abandoned in America” won in the Kaleidoscope Award’s digital category. Radio and television winners in 2019 include ESPN Films, NBC Bay Area, St. Louis Public Radio and NPR’s Latino USA.

The Center for Public Integrity also won the 2016 Kaleidoscope Award for its reporting on the criminalization of children and other recent winners include The Atlantic, the Seattle Times and the Huffington Post.

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John Dunbar

Yay!