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Announcing the 2020 IRE Award winners

Investigations that revealed corruption leading to poor quality of a state’s nursing homes, peeled back the curtain on the dark side of banking worldwide, and exposed a broken system where law enforcement agencies fail to track criminal officers are among the winners of the 2020 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

“This year’s award winners showed how powerful people and institutions have harmed our most vulnerable populations from nursing home residents in Indiana to palm oil workers in Southeast Asia," said Jennifer LaFleur, an IRE board member and chair of the IRE Awards contest committee. ”All the while, the journalists were dealing with working during a pandemic and economic hardships. Though told across many different platforms, these stories were not only deeply investigated pieces, but beautifully told. Judging IRE’s award entries was the most inspiring thing I have done in the last year.”

This year’s winners were selected from more than 400 entries. The awards, given since 1979, recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. The contest covers 17 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes.

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2020 IRE Award Winners:

IRE MEDAL: “Careless,” The Indianapolis Star, Tony Cook, Emily Hopkins, Tim Evans (PRINT/ONLINE DIVISION 3)

IRE MEDAL: “American Rehab,” for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Shoshana Walter, Laura Starecheski, Ike Sriskandarajah, Brett Myers, Jim Briggs, Fernando Arruda, Kevin Sullivan, Al Letson, Amy Julia Harris, Katharine Mieszkowski, Najib Aminy, Amy Mostafa, Rosemarie Ho, Matt Thompson, Esther Kaplan, Andy Donohue, Amanda Pike, Narda Zacchino, Gabe Hongsdusit, Sarah Mirk, Claire Mullen, Hannah Young, Byard Duncan, David Rodriguez, Eren K. Wilson (AUDIO - LARGE)

FOI Award: “The Disappeared” and “An Adolescence, Seized,” Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Aura Bogado, Melissa Lewis, Victoria Baranetsky, Rachel Brooke, Jenny Casas, Wilson Sayre, Najib Aminy, Brett Simpson, Najib Aminy, Amy Mostafa, Andrew Donohue, Esther Kaplan, Mitchell Landsberg, Soo Oh, Nikki Frick, Al Letson, Matt Thompson, Kevin Sullivan, John Barth, Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda

Tom Renner Award: “FinCEN Files,” BuzzFeed News, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 media partners around the world

Print/Online (written word) Division I: “Fruits of Labor,” The Associated Press,  Margie Mason and Robin McDowell

Print/Online (written word) Division II: “Deceit, Disrepair and Death Inside a Southern California Rental Empire,” KPCC/LAist, Aaron Mendelson 

Print/Online (written word) Division III (MEDAL WINNER): “Careless,” The Indianapolis Star, Tony Cook, Emily Hopkins, Tim Evans

Print/Online (written word) Division IV: “Land-Grab Universities: Expropriated Indigenous Land is the Foundation of the Land-Grant University System,” High Country News, Robert Lee, Tristan Ahtone, Margaret Pearce, Kalen Goodluck, Geoff McGhee, Cody Leff, Katherine Lanpher and Taryn Salinas

Video Division I: “America's Medical Supply Crisis,” FRONTLINE, Associated Press, Global Reporting Centre, Peter Klein (GRC), Christine Brandt (GRC), Juliet Linderman (AP), Martha Mendoza (AP), Kate McCormick, Frank Koughan, Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak (AP), Ron Nixon (AP), Sally Buzbee (AP), Andrew Metz (FRONTLINE), Raney Aronson-Rath (FRONTLINE)

Video Division II: “Full Disclosure,” ABC15 Arizona, Dave Biscobing, Gerard Watson, Lauren Wilson, Shawn Martin and Mark Casey

Video Division III: “Cell Blocked,” WVUE-TV, Lee Zurik, Cody Lillich, Jon Turnipseed, Mike Schaefer, Kristen Palestina

Video Division IV: “Fixing a Flaw for Veterans Lost on the Line,” WGME CBS 13, Jon Chrisos, Jack Amrock and Caulin Morrison

Audio Large (MEDAL WINNER): “American Rehab,” for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Shoshana Walter, Laura Starecheski, Ike Sriskandarajah, Brett Myers, Jim Briggs, Fernando Arruda, Kevin Sullivan, Al Letson, Amy Julia Harris, Katharine Mieszkowski, Najib Aminy, Amy Mostafa, Rosemarie Ho, Matt Thompson, Esther Kaplan, Andy Donohue, Amanda Pike, Narda Zacchino, Gabe Hongsdusit, Sarah Mirk, Claire Mullen, Hannah Young, Byard Duncan, David Rodriguez, Eren K. Wilson

Audio small: “Everytown: The Hamptons,”WSHU Public Radio, Charles Lane, Ann Lopez and Max Wasserman

Student Large: “Homeland Secrets,” Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, José-Ignacio Castañeda Perez, Alexandra Edelmann, Joel Farias Godinez, Derek Hall, Nicole Ludden, Maia Ordoñez, Devan Sauer, Mackenzie Shuman, Mike Barnitz and Troy Tauscher

Student Small: “When Colleges Fail On Mental Health,” CUNY Newmark School of Journalism: NY City News Service, Abigail Napp and Harsha Nahata

IRE Award for Sports Investigations: “Sexual misconduct at LSU,” USA TODAY, Kenny Jacoby, Nancy Armour and Jessica Luther

Investigations Triggered by Breaking News: “The Death of George Floyd,” Star Tribune, Libor Jany, Andy Mannix, Jennifer Bjorhus, Jeff Hargarten and Liz Sawyer

Book: “Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic,” by Eric Eyre

Click here for a complete list of winners, finalists, judges and judges’ comments.

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