The Center for Public Integrity won four business journalism awards Thursday for investigations reported in collaboration with other newsrooms.
Judges in the Best in Business Awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, or SABEW, selected winners from a “record” 1,182 entries submitted by 193 news organizations.
Public Integrity’s winning projects:
Attacked Behind the Wheel. The project, in partnership with Scripps News, won its division in the travel/transportation category. The months-long investigation found widespread abuse in the trucking industry: Many female drivers reported that they’ve been raped and attacked by their co-workers and trainers while on the road as part of an apprenticeship program that is partly subsidized by the U.S. government.
The reporting had an impact even before the project published on Dec. 11. In response to our findings, a California law enforcement agency said that it had opened an investigation into the sexual assault reported by one of the women interviewed.
SABEW judges wrote that the investigation “tackles what is an important human-interest story and business issue. The entry stands out in the package for bringing to life the plight of women truckers working in a frequently hostile environment.”
Harm’s Way. This series about climate relocation, in partnership with Columbia Journalism Investigations and Type Investigations, won its division in the energy/natural resources category. The project revealed that the federal government has known for years that millions of Americans will be forced from their homes by worsening climate impacts, but officials have not taken steps to effectively help.
The investigation showed that weak action neglecting vulnerable communities has left residents — often people of color — in increasingly dangerous conditions.
“As the entry demonstrated,” judges wrote, “the government bureaucracy is not prepared at all for the deluge of people who will need assistance to uproot their lives and relocate. The entry delivered fresh insights and powerful first-hand accounts.”
Read the series here. A collaboration that included reporters at local and regional newsrooms around the country produced powerful pieces about impacts in their communities.
Unequal Burden. Public Integrity partnered with ICT, formerly Indian Country Today, to co-report this series about states worsening inequality through their taxes, rather than easing it. The series won its division in SABEW’s explanatory category; judges said the “breadth of reporting was impressive.”
The stories showed how states extract a greater share of poor residents’ income than wealthier people’s and how avowed white supremacists set that in motion, how four decades of federal tax cuts help explain spiraling inequality, and how states undercut tribes by taxing activities on tribal lands.
“We’re asking people to fund government programs even when they can’t afford basic needs, like food and shelter,” Ariel Jurow Kleiman at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles told us as we reported the series. “That strikes me as profoundly unfair.”
The Wealth Vortex. This podcast and series of text stories, in partnership with Transmitter Media, followed Iowa entrepreneur ReShonda Young as she tried to open what would be her state’s only Black-owned bank — an exploration of what one person can and can’t do about the entrenched racial wealth gap in this country.
It won its division in SABEW’s podcast/audio category.
“This podcast series took a single idea and developed it like a great, long-form magazine story,” the judges wrote.
The series was also recognized with an honorable mention in its division in the banking/finance category. Those judges wrote, “This entry is powerful and raises profound questions about our society.”
Find the series here. It was earlier recognized as a finalist in the Ambie Awards, often called the Oscars of podcasting; was a Signal Awards silver award honoree; and took second place in this year’s Shaufler Prize in Journalism.
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