2019 Award Winners with Judges Comments

2019 Deadline Club Award Winners with Judges Comments

Newspaper or Digital Beat Reporting

Winner: Joseph Goldstein, The New York Times, “Test-ilying by Police: A Stubborn Problem”


The judges said this was a thoroughly reported,  damning revelation of how the process of justice can be skewed to hurt vulnerable citizens. With strong sourcing and vivid writing, this coverage holds the powerful to account.

Newspaper or Digital Feature Reporting

Winner: Casey Parks, The Trace, “His Only Living Boy”


It’s the story of a father who testified against his son – the one who held the gun that killed his younger brother.  The father now believes a defective rifle was to blame.…..The judges wrote:

“Its strong characters and insightful reporting make you want to read more. The article offers insights into relevant social issues like gun violence, economic disparities, and the criminal justice system, all the while showing nuances of topics that tend to be polarizing.

Newspaper or Digital Spot News Reporting

Winner: Michael Hill and David Klepper, The Associated Press, “Limousine Crash Kills 20 in Upstate New York”


“It’s a news desk nightmare,” the judges wrote, “—a report comes in with only one journalist on duty that 20 people just died in a horrific limousine crash. But, with its considerable resources, the AP deployed reporters where they needed to be and quickly told the story of this upstate tragedy from all relevant angles: Human, mechanical, and legal. They also brought to light regulatory shortcuts involving both the vehicle and its driver.

Newspaper or Digital Enterprise Reporting

Winner: Tiffany Kary and Christopher Cannon, Bloomberg News, “Cancer-Linked Chemicals Manufactured by 3M Are Turning Up in Drinking Water”


“Kary and Cannon’s story for Bloomberg on the cancer-causing chemicals leaked into Minnesota drinking water by 3M is a gripping piece of enterprise and public service journalism. It combines rigorous sourcing with in-depth and revealing interviews, told through vivid prose. It makes the science accessible, while shining a spotlight on the human actors at the center of the story.

Newspaper or Digital Local News Reporting

Winner: Joaquin Sapien and Tom Jennings, ProPublica in partnership with PBS Frontline and The New York Times, “The Right to Fail”


In 2014, thousands of New Yorkers with severe mental illness living in troubled group homes won the chance to live independently. The government didn’t track what happened when they left. ProPublica and Frontline found cases with deadly consequences.  The judges wrote: “This is journalism at its best. It’s a critically important piece that exposes issues facing an often neglected population.  We were enormously impressed by the depth of this piece. It’s an enlightening investigation that will no doubt break misconceptions. Truly captivating and eye-opening”.

Reporting by a Newspaper with Circulation Under 100,000

Winner: Staff, Asbury Park Press, “Protecting the Shield”

The judges wrote:

The amount of work that went into this 19-part series on bad cops, and how they were protected — more than 30,000 pages of documents reviewed over two years — is as impressive as the far-reaching results this series generated.”

Reporting by Independent Digital Media

Winner: Christine Kenneally, BuzzFeed News, “The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage”


The judges said: Not only has the reporter put in years of investigative work, she has put what transpired at St. Joseph’s in the greater context of Catholic orphanages across North America, the UK, and Australia. What results is a damning testimony of corruption, complicity, and decades-long cover-ups. In this particular case, the use of first person narration to bring the reporter into the story as a character is justified, as the notion of anyone digging into this history and remaining impartial stretches credulity. The resulting narrative works, and although the horrors described took place decades ago, this article could not be more timely.”

Magazine Personal Service

Winner:  Tonic Staff, VICE Media, “The Tonic Guide to Healthcare”

The judges wrote:

The Tonic Guide To Healthcare, (sub head, Whether You Have Good Insurance, Bad Insurance, or No Insurance at all)  was extremely comprehensive and presented a wide range of scenarios (eg: You’re Pregnant,  or You’re addicted to Opiods)  that readers could find themselves in.  It’s an excellent example of service journalism.

Magazine Profile

Winner: Taffy Brodesser-Akner, New York Times Magazine, “How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million

The judges wrote:

Taffy Brodesser-Akner delivers a multidimensional portrait that is as informative as it is downright fun to read. Her vivid scenes and animated exposition fully convey the subject’s personality and character. The narrative is nicely served by the author’s own presence; her searing commentary and distinctive voice are weapons to be cherished. Congratulations, and kudos!

Magazine Investigative Reporting

Winner: Andy Greenberg, WIRED, “The Code That Crashed the World”

The judges wrote:

“This was a story that was told in a compelling way when the subject matter could easily get too complicated and technical. It focused on an incredibly serious issue of epic world-threatening proportions with tremendous implications for global security. The graphics used in the article really popped and tied into the story well.”

Magazine Feature Reporting

Winner: Sheri Fink and Luke Mitchell, New York Times Magazine, “Lost in the Storm”

The judges wrote:

This gripping story recounts one husband’s persistent attempts to save his wife’s life as flooding overwhelms Houston’s emergency system. Reporter Sheri Fink constructed a compelling narrative that helps explain how one family was left to fend for themselves during Hurricane Harvey, despite four increasingly desperate 911 calls in 24 hours. This is the kind of longform storytelling that should be taught in journalism schools.

Headline Writing

Winner:  Ben Goldberger, Edward Felsenthal and D.W. Pine, TIME, “Who Gets to Be American?”

The judges said:

“A thought-provoking headline that asks an enormously pertinent question in today’s society. The headline paired with the image is a powerful representation of a question the nation is consistently confronted with.

Arts Reporting

 Winner:  Jamil Smith, TIME, “A Hero Rises”

The judges said:

Jamil Smith’s TIME cover story “A Hero Rises” managed to approach an extremely well-covered topic from a fresh angle and in an intimate voice. Smith employed unique use of the first-person voice (and even the second-person “you”) to bring in his own perspective while also addressing the reader. And he placed “Black Panther” in both current and historical political perspective. Wakanda forever!

Sports Reporting

Winner: Sarah Spain, Ruddy Roye, Kristine LaManna, Jena Janovy and Laura Purtell, ESPN.com and E:60, “Runs in the Family”

The judges said:

“This is a poignant, fascinating story that makes a reader cry, with delight, at the excellent storytelling. Like a fine drama, every paragraph draws the reader in towards the story’s conclusion. There is emotional investment in reading this story where football ties everything together and the reader realizes what a small world the football world can be.”

Business Feature

Winner:  Dan Alexander and Matt Drange, Forbes, “Trump Tenants”

The judges wrote:

“Forbes’ Dan Alexander and Matt Drange report that a substantial source of income for The Trump Organizatin and the president himself comes from the rental of commercial real estate. They report numerous possible conflicts of interest, involving tenants who do business with the federal government, and on at least one apparent violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, of a bank that’s majority-owned by the Chinese government that has offices in Trump Tower.  Because the President retains full ownership of the organization, the rents enrich him. The Trump Organization and the White House have declined to identify the 164 Trump Tower tenants or how much rent they pay, but Alexander and Drange dug into records and spoke with real estate experts to create their own list of tenants and estimates of rent paid, providing a revealing look at an underreported aspect of the Trump businesses and income.”

Business Investigative Reporting

Winner: Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas, ProPublica and The New York Times, “Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Crisis”

Our judges wrote:

“This investigation changed the way major cancer care centers, not just Sloan, operate, cleansing them of potential conflicts that could impact patient treatments. The top medical executive at Sloan left in less than a week after publication and a number of other top docs and executives also fessed up to their own failures-to-disclose and potential conflicts. The Times reporters took a publicly available database (thanks to earlier expose’s) and went to town with it. Even though a lot of the information involved technical medical research, the stories were clearly written and a punch right to the heart of where big money and big medicine meet.”

Science, Technology, Medical or Environmental Reporting

Winner: Implant Files Reporting and Data Teams, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Associated Press and NBC News Investigative Unit, “Implant Files”

The judges wrote:

“The Implant Files: Artificial hips that corrode flesh, surgical mesh that pierces organs, misfiring spinal cord stimulators that feel like lightening in the brain — That’s how reporters from this three-team media alliance describe the results of poor medical device oversight based on collecting data on 1.7 million injuries and 83,000 deaths from 13 different countries! As part of this year-long investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Associated Press and NBC news created an international database that for the first time gathers and standardizes information on the pain and suffering caused by malfunctioning medical devices. The investigation triggered reforms including the U.S. Federal Drug Administration’s vow to become the world’s foremost device regulating agency — after a substantial recent oversight retreat. Going forward, the database—with more than 600,000 site visits and counting—will live on, empowering patients and doctors to find out basics about medical devices that should never be implanted in anybody.

Opinion Writing

Winner:  David Andelman, Reuters, “The World Through the Prism of Donald Trump”

The judges wrote:

“David Andelman’s commentary offers trenchant analysis with a global view, shedding light on over-looked regions like Congo and Syria. His observations are arch but not acerbic. Andelman resists sweeping partisan language and makes his case with deep research and careful persuasion. Opinion writing at its best.”

Spot News Photo

Winner:  David Butow, TIME, “Jeff Flake at the Crossroads”

The judges wrote:

David Butow’s photograph of Jeff Flake during the Cavanaugh hearings displayed a painterly attention to light and mood; its composition exposes complex emotions that caught and distilled a key moment of the hearing.

Sports Photo

Winner:  Thomas A. Ferrara, Newsday, “Farewell Captain”

The judges wrote:

“This photo captures what every great photo hopes to: a moment in time etched with emotion, reaction, and reality. It also brings viewers a perspective most could not see on their own. The setting, the players and the face of the subject of this baseball memory is powerfully documented for fans to recall for years to come.

Feature Photo

Winner: James Nachtwey, TIME, “The Opioid Diaries”

The judges wrote:

James Nachtwey’s photographs of the opioid crisis are in-depth, honest, and reveal something new about a topic which has been covered extensively. His work goes beyond statistics and humanizes this epidemic.

Multimedia, Interactive Graphics and Animation

Winner: Melena Ryzik, Culture, Design and Graphics Teams, The New York Times, “David Bowie in Three Dimensions”

The judges wrote:

Bowie’s legendary costumes were brought into the viewer’s personal space through this crisp and seamless 3D augmented reality experience. In an interesting twist, rather than create an “immersive” experience where the viewer is brought into another world, the Bowie project brings the artist and his work into the viewer’s world. The mobile app lets users feel like they are walking around the real museum exhibit — forming a cohesive, stimulating and well- thought out tool for effective storytelling.”

Digital Innovation

Winner: Maurice Tamman, Matthew Green, Mari Saito, Sarah Slobin and Maryanne Murray, Reuters, “Ocean Shock”

The judges wrote:

“Enlightening, frightening and remarkably comprehensive. Stands apart for its technology in service of storytelling. Museum-quality design.”

Radio or Audio Feature Reporting

Winner: Jim Roope, Westwood One News, “Las Vegas: Remembering and Healing”

The judges wrote:

Radio or Audio Investigative Reporting

Winner: Audrey Quinn and David Lewis, WNYC, “For New Jersey Jails: Suicides and Overdoses, but Little Oversight”

The judges wrote:

This impressive investigative work by Audrey Quinn and David Lewis revealed a vastly underfunded and overcapacity jail system where inmates–many facing only minor traffic or substance abuse charges–are dying at an alarming rate. With engaging, efficient reporting and comprehensive, balanced sourcing, WNYC uncovered one of the most pressing problems facing our justice system and a complete lack of oversight by the state of New Jersey to prevent a senseless loss of human life.

Digital Video Reporting

Winner: Madison Mills, New York Magazine, “Parkland Shooting Survivors Race to Finish Yearbook”

The judges said:

“Parkland was arguably the biggest news story of 2018 and this beautiful video will go down as an invaluable part of the coverage…,Told from the perspective of the students who were impacted the most by the violence, the journalists allowed the students to share their story in an emotional and compelling way, rather than simply having them be objects who were written about, fully immersing viewers in the students’ lives and leading to one of the best produced pieces on Parkland.”

National Television Feature

Winner: Marcia Biggs, Javier Manzano, Michiel Pilgram, Tom Casciato, Scott Davis and Tom Ritzenhauler, PBS NewsHour Weekend, “Inside Yemen: Food as a Weapon of War”

The judges wrote:

“This is a stunning work of journalism that powerfully captures a major crisis in the Middle East, one that is affecting U.S. policy in the region. Masterfully crafted by the PBS NewsHour team with Marcia Biggs reporting from the front lines, it uncovers a heartbreaking story of a starving child, one of 17 million people not getting enough food to survive, and takes viewers on a deep exploration of Saudi strategy: to block distribution from rural to liberated areas. The clear sense of purpose behind the story guides the reporting, photography and narrative, all of which illuminate the human rights struggle that ensues in the region today.

National Television Series or Investigative Reporting

Winner: Andrew Lehren, Sarah Fitzpatrick, Emily Siegel, Adiel Kaplan and Lauren Dunn, NBC News Investigative Unit with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Associated Press, “The Implant Files”

The judges wrote:

The Implant Files is a sweeping examination of new medical technology meant to improve the quality of life, but as a result of a lack of effective oversight by regulators, has resulted in pain, disfigurement and death. In what has been described as the largest-ever collaborative healthcare investigation by journalists, NBC News, ICIJ and the Associated Press joined forces to expose the dark side of a global industry. The team used dogged investigative techniques and more than 1,500 public record requests to reveal a system that was in desperate need of fixing.”

National Television Spot News Reporting

Winner: Clarissa Ward, Gul Tuysuz, Ingrid Formanek, Salma Abdelaziz, Ghazi Balkiz and Brice Lainé, CNN, “Khashoggi Body Double”

The judges wrote:

“As suspicion over the sudden disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi grew, CNN managed to move the story forward by obtaining CCTV footage of a body double. Their exclusive report completely changed the Saudi narrative–and prompted anger worldwide against the government. CNN was on the ground in Turkey as developments in this case were unfolding. The CNN team was diligent and aggressive in bringing urgent truths around Khashoggi’s killing out into the open.”

Local Television Feature

Winner: Leisha Majtan, Brianne Barry and Daniel Komarinetz, Spectrum News NY1, “Opera in the Park”

The judges wrote:

A delightful piece that shows New York City at its best. Storytelling well-executed through superb use of natural sound, compelling sound bites, beautiful shooting, and smart editing. Bravissimo!

Local Television Series or Investigative Reporting

Winner: Karin Attonito, Anthony Cocco and Walt Kane, News 12 New Jersey, “Kane In Your Corner: Concussion Coverup”

The judges wrote:

A fine piece of investigative journalism that exposed lax regulation and serious risk of injury and death from riding roller-coasters and attempts to cover-up the danger. We gave this story first place because this danger has never to our knowledge been reported on before and the public has a genuine need to know this.”

Local Television Spot News Reporting

Winner:  Staff, Spectrum News NY1, “Border Children in New York”

The judges wrote:

In NY1’s revealing “Border Children” story, we learned for the first time that U.S. border authorities were not only separating children from their parents as they entered the country from Mexico, but busing the children to far-flung places, including a foster care facility in East Harlem. Acting on a tip, NY1 journalists staked out the facility and got exclusive poignant footage of the children as they arrived in the dead of night. This continuous coverage drew national media attention to an undisclosed federal government practice.

Daniel Pearl Prize for Investigative Reporting


The Implant Files Reporting and Data Teams, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Associated Press and NBC News Investigative Unit, “The Implant Files”

The judges said:

“In a category crowded with incredible entries, the Implant Files stands apart for the scope of wrongdoing revealed and impact generated. The series detailed how systemic flaws caused more than one million injuries and tens of thousands of deaths worldwide. Implant Files exposed worldwide violations of trust in crucial medical infrastructure. We’re all safer thanks to the reforms implemented after this reporting and the recall database ICIJ created.”

The Mosaic Award – a new award this year to recognize coverage of disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, social justice, equity and inclusion.

Winner: Katie Barnes, Richard Messina, Laura Purtell, J.B. Morris and Kate Marron, espnW, “They Are The Champions”

The judges wrote:

“They are the Champions” is the story of two transgender teens attempting to participate in high school sports while dealing with society’s stereotypes and gender questions from the administration. With vivid detail, the first paragraph hooks the reader, and the teens’ voices carry the story through to the end. We don’t just read about their struggles, we experience them. The photographs add another layer of intimacy. This story gives a voice to the voiceless.”

The Les Payne Award for Coverage on Communities of Color – another new award this year honoring the memory of legendary journalist, and New York Journalism Hall of Famer, Les Payne, and recognizing coverage on topics and issues specifically relevant to communities of color.

Winner: Sharon Cohen, Mary Hudetz and David Goldman, The Associated Press, “#NotInvisible: Why Are Native American Women Vanishing?”

The judges said:

“Sharon Cohen, David Goldman and Mary Hudetz brought attention to the undercovered phenomenon of missing Native American women. We chose this entry because it raised awareness about an alarming issue and furthermore, had far-reaching impact. We felt this entry showed a commitment to deliberate, continued coverage of a community from within it, and noted that funding and legislative support followed its publication.”

Public Service Award:

Winner: Joshua Schneyer, Michael Pell, Andrea Januta and Deborah Nelson, Reuters, “Ambushed at Home”

and Dave Boucher, The Marshall Project and USA Today Network – Tennessee, “Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary”

The judges wrote:

“A comprehensive and in-depth peeling back of the curtain that shows how America’s heroes are forced to live. The reporting exposes squalid, hazardous military housing and what goes on behind the scenes for those who put their lives on the line to keep the country safe. The work is multi-faceted and at times heartbreaking. But the story is a must-read.”

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