Center for Investigative Reporting

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Post and Courier’s 90-year Pulitzer drought ends with public service gold

One of the winners, Natalie Caula Hauff celebrates in the newsroom. She left journalism for the PR before the announcement was made.

One of the winners, Natalie Caula Hauff celebrates in the newsroom. She left journalism for the PR before the announcement was made.

Doug Pardue of the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier vividly recalls what inspired the title for the newspaper’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning series—which powerfully details how women in the state are being killed by domestic partners at the rate of one every 12 days.

A lead reporter on the nascent project, Pardue and teammate Jennifer Berry Hawes were interviewing the director of a local women’s shelter about factors that led to such a level of carnage: poverty, an extremely rural population, and a strong gun culture. When the director surprised them by mentioning “this religion thing,” though, they were puzzled. Fundamentalist Christian men, the director explained, often consider themselves totally dominant in any relationship. Read more

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8 lesser known stories the Pulitzer committee should know about

Related: Roy J. Harris Jr. makes his Pulitzer predictions

National journalism awards have already sniffed out some exceptional journalism that no doubt will be top Pulitzer contenders: The Arizona Republic’s exceptional work investigating VA hospitals, The New York Times’ coverage of Ebola in Western Africa and The St Louis Post-Dispatch’s coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting and protests all have rightfully been cited as among 2014’s best journalism. But let me tell you about some other reporting in print and online that deserves your attention.

  • Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.17.52 PMOne of my favorite investigations of 2014 was “Subsidized Squalor” by the Center for Investigative Reporting and a host of partners. I loved the project from the first sentence, “There are 4,055 public housing agencies across the U.S., and we’ve spent the past year writing about one of the worst.” People living in Richmond, California’s public housing lived with rodents and sewage CIR created a unit-by-unit interactive graphic so you could see what was wrong in each unit.
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Meet ICIJ — The biggest, toughest investigative unit you may never have heard of

Even for an investigative team with global reach and huge ambitions, the last month has been extraordinary for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Two weeks ago Sunday, a joint investigation with “60 Minutes” on tax avoidance and money laundering at the Swiss private bank British giant HSBC aired.

Since then, Swiss authorities raided the bank for evidence of fraud, HSBC apologized in full-page ads in Britain and a prominent journalist at The Telegraph went public with his resignation, claiming the conservative daily downplayed the story as a favor to a prominent advertiser.

A week after the Swiss Leaks report, ICIJ won a George Polk award in the business category for a pair of 2014 projects, one on offshore investments by Chinese elites including parking their money in New York City real estate and the other revealing how Luxembourg operates as a tax avoidance haven. Read more

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Career Beat: Kevin Sullivan named EP for CIR’s investigative radio show, ‘Reveal’

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Kevin Sullivan has been named executive producer at “Reveal.” He’s the senior managing editor of “Here and Now.” (Center for Investigative Reporting)
  • Mike Hofman has been named executive digital director at GQ. He’s executive digital director at Glamour. (Email)
  • Steve Battaglio is now a TV and media business reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Previously, he was the business editor at TV Guide. (Email)

Job of the day: The Associated Press is looking for interns. Get your résumés in! (AP)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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There are a lot of good illustrated journalism pieces this week

CIR | Al Jazeera America | CityLab

Three good examples of illustrated journalism arrived this week. That’s not a trend, but it’s a welcome opportunity to highlight alternative storytelling forms.

The Center for Investigative Reporting just published “Techsploitation,” a graphic novel that tells the story of an Indian man who ended up in a “guesthouse,” applying for work online after he thought he was getting a job in the States. CIR reporter Matt Smith also illustrated the book, which accompanies his much longer text-based story about shady job brokers.

A page fron "Techsploitation"

A page fron “Techsploitation”

The Guardian also ran “Techsploitation” online.

Meghann Farnsworth, CIR’s director of distribution and engagement, said she didn’t yet know the extent to which the partnership boosted the book’s reach, but said “On social media we’ve seen a lot of people excited to see it.” CIR is also trying to figure out how many print copies of the book to make — some will go to colleges and media organizations in India, Farnsworth said, and others might become premiums for CIR’s members. Read more

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How CIR measured the impact of an investigative series

When Lindsay Green-Barber took a job as the at the Center for Investigative Reporting’s media impact analyst, she was struck by the difference between the way two stories were received.

Editorials and investigations followed Corey G. Johnson’s story about forced sterilizations in California prisons. But a CIR series called “Rape in the Fields” got a much quieter reception, despite airing on PBS and Univision.

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Both stories “revealed injustices committed against women in vulnerable communities,” Green-Barber writes in a new report, her first case study for CIR, assessing “Rape in the Fields”‘ impact. (You can read the report below.) “Yet, the sterilization story appeared to be creating more of a national public outcry.” Then, she writes, “I had a bit of an aha moment: Spanish.”

I Googled the Spanish title of the documentary, “Violación de un Sueño,” and at the top of the results list was El Diario, the largest and oldest Spanish-language newspaper in New York City and the oldest Spanish-language daily in the U.S.

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CIR raises funds for investigation into ‘neighborhood NSA’

The Center for Investigative Reporting hopes to raise $25,000 to report on surveillance by local authorities, a practice speeded by technological improvements and federal money. Subscribers get benefits on a sliding scale — from a tote bag and a tour of CIR’s newsroom if you donate $350 to email alerts when new stories go up if you pledge $5 per month.

Beacon, which is handling fundraising for the series, refers to those alerts as “subscriptions,” but CIR spokesperson Lisa Cohen tells Poynter any stories that come from this project will be available on the CIR website, and “CIR will be working with partners as the stories warrant,” Cohen writes.

“During the past year, we’ve learned a lot about the federal government’s surveillance program, but we still know very little about how local police collect and mine data,” CIR reporter Amanda Pike says in a video accompanying the pitch. Read more

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The story of women in Afghanistan ‘must be told’

Journalist Zoreh Soleimani on the right in Afghanistan. (CIR)

In 2011, Iranian photojournalist Zohreh Soleimani walked into the offices of the Center for Investigative Reporting with the story of a young Afghan woman.

Soleimani, then a fellow in the graduate journalism program at University of California, Berkley, first started reporting on the rights of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell in 2001. In 2011, she met Soheila, who was jailed for running away from an arranged marriage and having a relationship and a child with another man. The jail was filled with women in exactly the same circumstances.

Every year since, Soleimani has returned to the offices of the CIR with more footage, more stories of women in Afghanistan and more on the life of Soheila, whose father and brother pledged to kill her. Read more

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Guardian staffers win top IRE prize for NSA series

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The Investigative Reporters & Editors medal for 2014 goes to Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill and others for the Guardian’s reports on the NSA, which “revealed a story that continues to reverberate in the United States and across the globe,” the judges say. (Greenwald and Poitras now work for Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media.)

ProPublica got a FOI Award for its series on revelations from government drug data.

In broadcast, New Orleans’ WVUE won for its “Body of Evidence” series, Los Angeles’ KNBC won for an investigation into bus safety and CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting won for their series on fraud at rehab clinics.

Swedish Radio beat stories by NPR, CIR and Minnesota Public Radio with a story that sounds like the plot of a Stieg Larsson novel but is, shockingly, true. Read more

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ESPN wins duPont-Columbia award for football investigation

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ESPN’s critical look at youth football “Outside the Lines: Youth Football Concerns” was among the winners of the 2014 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, which were announced Wednesday. From the awards list:

This important investigation added to the growing body of coverage about concussions and football with stories that graphically illustrated the problems and featured exclusive interviews with those involved in the controversies. ESPN’s reporting had an impact by identifying abuses and policy gaps as well as prompting an 18-month police investigation into corruption and gambling.

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