2017 Philip Meyer Award winners

These awards were presented at the 2018 CAR Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The contest, for work published or broadcast between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2017, attracted entries from across the world.

Entries were judged by Sarah Cohen, Knight Chair in Data Journalism at Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Robert Gebeloff, Database Projects Editor at The New York Times; Brant Houston, Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; David McKie, Investigative Producer in CBC News’ Parliamentary bureau; Cheryl Phillips, Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Professional Journalism at Stanford University; Giannina Segnini, Knight Chair in Data Journalism and Director of the M.S. in Data Journalism Program at Columbia University; Jodi Upton, Knight Chair in Data and Explanatory Journalism Professor at Syracuse University; Matt Waite, Professor of Practice at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

First Place

Dangerous Doses” | Chicago Tribune
Sam Roe, Karisa King and Ray Long

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

Too Broke for Bankruptcy” | ProPublica
Paul Kiel and Hannah Fresques

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

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



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.

Honorable Mention

The Tax Divide” | Chicago Tribune
Jason Grotto

The extensive use of sales ratio analysis on more than 100 million property tax assessment records warrants a special mention for “The Tax Divide.” The Chicago Tribune’s aggressive pursuit of records and accountability was notable, and the series’ use of strong examples helped illustrate the troubling patterns in Cook County’s complex tax system.

Read the entire press release.