The Renner Award

The Renner Award to David Rummel, Rhonda Schwartz, Brian Ross, Simon Surowicz, Mishi Ebrahim and Phyllis McGrady

ABC News for “Blood Money“.

About the selling of organs of executed Chinese prisoners.

Judges’ comments: ABC’s PrimeTime Live showed commendable enterprise in developing strong visual proof of an almost unbelievable practice — the for-profit harvesting of organs from prisoners executed in China. While not a criminal enterprise in the traditional sense, this practice nevertheless represented organized criminal activity of the worst kind. With chilling footage from the killing field and from the hospital where organs are extracted, ABC provided riveting public service in so clearly documenting this organs-for-sale scheme. “


Network/Syndicated Television

IRE Medal to Patrick Weiland, John Larson, Lindsey Schwartz, Susan Farkas, Allen Maraynes and Neal Shapiro

Dateline NBC for “Probable Cause.”

Investigates the misuse of Louisiana’s drug asset forfeiture law.

Judges’ comments: “Dateline NBC’s probing of Louisiana’s enforcement of its drug asset forfeiture law represented startlingly original reporting on practices so outrageous that they might be hard to believe without the convincing documentation this report provided. Dateline revealed not only systematic illegal traffic stops, brutal behavior and unfair seizures, but also a system in which judges who decide cases benefit from ill-gotten gains and innocent citizens must actually pay to go to court to get their appeals heard.”

Newspapers – Circulation More Than 250,000

IRE Medal to Gary Cohn and Will Englund

The Baltimore Sun for “The Shipbreakers

Reporters Gary Cohn and Will Englund examine a little-known global industry which harms workers and the environment. 

Judges’ comments: “The Baltimore Sun’s examination of the dangerous, shadowy world of “ship breaking” — the salvage of surplus vessels — was a marvelous job of cracking open a vital, new subject. It featured human drama, vivid story telling and amazing photography, all against the backdrop of tremendous originality and enterprise.”

Television – Top 20 Market

IRE Medal to Joel Grover and Sylvia Teague

KCBS-TV, Los Angeles for “License for Sale.”

An expose of widespread corruption inside the California Department of Motor Vehicles. 

Judges’ comments: “With great undercover enterprise reporting, KCBS-TV of Los Angeles did an old-fashioned job of revealing a scandal and spurring officials into action. In this case, the scandal was an elaborate network for selling legitimate California drivers licenses — important because they’ve become de facto identification cards — used for everything from getting government services to boarding commercial airliners. KCBS’ report even included the confession of one of the principal perpetrators in the scheme. “

IRE Certificate to Shirley Enebrad and Emily Langlie

KOMO-TV, of Seattle for “Poor Justice? The Susan Cummings story.”

About the conviction and imprisonment of a 16-year-old girl for a murder she may not have committed. 

Judges’ comments: “In tackling a project few stations would attempt, KOMO-TV of Seattle made a convincing case that an innocent woman had been wrongly convicted of murder, and that authorities were, at best, negligent in handling her case. KOMO deserves high praise for righting a wrong and for committing significant resources to a long-forgotten murder case.” 

Newspapers – Circulation Between 100,000 and 250,000

IRE Certificate to Jeff Montgomery

The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) for a series on land inventories at the Delaware Department of Transportation – “DelDOT Land Lords.” 

An in-depth look at the Delaware Department of Transportation’s land purchases. 

Judges’ comments: “The News Journal’s look at the Delaware Department of Transportation’s real estate practices was a classic story of how taxpayers lose out through the bungling, ineptitude and cronyism of government bureaucrats. After more than four dozen stories, state officials ordered an overhaul of the department’s land office that promises to save the public significant sums of money.”

Television – Below Top 20 Market

IRE Certificate to Stuart Watson and Richard Adkins

WRAL-TV, Raleigh, N.C., for “Military Medical Malpractice: Who Pays the Price?

Stuart Watson reports on how medical malpractice remains a well-kept military secret, with no one protecting millions of U.S. servicemen and women or their families from inept doctors. 

Judges’ comments: “WRAL-TV of Raleigh, N.C. probed an area the public rarely considers — the quality of medicine in the military — and exposed shocking standards and practices that hurt the lives and families of many people. It’s never easy to investigate the military, but WRAL successfully showed that while the United States may field the best armed forces in the world, the men and women who serve their country are at risk when they turn to the services for health care. WRAL’s work benefited from a joint effort with the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, whose series, “Unnecessary Danger,” was a finalist in the medium newspapers category. “

Newspapers – Circulation Below 100,000

IRE Certificate to Anne Brennan and William Mills

Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. for “Broken Trust: The Failed Cleanup at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.”

Reporters Anne Brennan and William Mills report on the flawed hazardous waste cleanup at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod and the possible effects on public health. 

Judges’ comments: Cape Cod Times’ exploration of contamination by the military of crucial ground water supplies was an exhaustive, persistent effort on an issue of extreme local importance. It convincingly showed both government incompetence and obstruction at all levels. There was good follow-up, and it was refreshing to see a small newspaper make such a significant commitment of resources to pursue this worthy project.”


No winner.


IRE Certificate to the late Angus Mackenzie, Howard Kohn and Stephen Levine

Secrets: The CIA’s War At Home Center for Investigative Reporting, University of California Press. 

Describes the CIA’s role in attempting to censor alternative newspapers and squelch free speech from the Vietnam War forward. 

Judges’ comments: Secrets: The CIA’s War at Home was a sweeping, thoroughly documented and engagingly written look at Central Intelligence Agency activities against the American people — from illegal domestic intelligence activities to successful attempts at restricting constitutional protections. In tracing CIA actions since the post-World War II formation of the agency to the present day, Secrets shows the sustained nature of the agency’s assault on the people it’s supposed to protect. 


IRE Certificate to Peter Keating, Nancy Perry Graham and Tyler Mathisen

Money Magazine for “Why You May Be Getting the Wrong Medicine.”

Peter Keating’s investigation exposes the often tragic results of new alliances among big drug companies, managed care organizations and middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers. 

Judges’ comments: “How would you feel if someone changed your prescription medication without your knowledge? In examining the growing influence of “pharmacy benefit managers,” Money magazine revealed this disturbing new dimension of the nation’s push toward managed health care — one that sometimes endangers lives. Money also documented growing alliances between drug makers and these “PBMs” that raise serious questions of conflict of interest.”


No Winner