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2017 Philip Meyer Award winners announced

IRE is proud to announce the 2017 Philip Meyer Award winners.

A pioneering investigation that uncovered gaps in the pharmacy safety net is the first-place winner of the 2017 Philip Meyer Journalism Awards. Other top awards go to an investigation that revealed racial disparities in bankruptcy protections and discrimination against foreigners in Germany’s housing market.

First place is awarded to "Dangerous Doses," by Sam Roe, Karisa King and Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune.

Dangerous Doses was groundbreaking work that made a remarkable discovery: More than half of the 255 pharmacies that the Chicago Tribune tested failed to warn patients about potentially deadly interactions. To identify the holes in patient safety, the paper consulted leading pharmacology researchers at universities to design the drug pairs for the pharmacy-testing project. The team then worked with a physician to obtain prescriptions, which 15 staff reporters took to pharmacies and documented whether they were told of potential adverse reactions. The results resonated in Illinois, with the governor launching new safety regulations, and nationwide with the country’s largest pharmacy chains, including CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, taking steps to improve patient safety for millions of consumers -- and potentially saving lives.

Second place is awarded to "Too Broke for Bankruptcy," by Paul Kiel and Hannah Fresques of ProPublica.

In an innovative analysis of bankruptcy data, ProPublica found that black Americans are far less likely to gain relief from creditors than their white peers. What's more, when reporters Paul Kiel and Hannah Fresques began examining certain cities, they found that the disparity was driven by questionable legal advice. In Memphis, for example, black debtors were far more likely to be steered into bankruptcy plans that were doomed to fail. The reporters then crafted a compelling story to make this arcane but important topic come to life.

Third place is awarded to "No Place for Foreigners. Why Hanna is invited to view the apartment and Ismail is not," by Robert Schöffel, Christina Elmer, Oliver Schnuck, Patrick Stotz, Steffen Kühne, Achim Tack and Ulrike Köppen of Bayerischer Rundfunk and Der Spiegel.

Reporters at Bayerischer Rundfunk and Der Spiegel set out to find if structural discrimination against foreigners in the German housing market existed. In a large-scale survey of landlords in Germany, reporters used an innovative and automated process to request data from 8,000 landlords and found that potential renters with Arab and Turkish names were frequently ignored while those with German names were answered promptly.

The judges also would like to recognize "The Tax Divide," by Jason Grotto, then of the Chicago Tribune, with an honorable mention. The Tribune’s extensive use of sales ratio data, aggressive pursuit of records and accountability, and strong examples helped illustrate the troubling patterns in Cook County’s complex tax system.

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