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IRE members win 2014 Selden Ring Award

Congratulations to IRE members Ellen Gabler and Allan J. Vestal of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for receiving the 2014 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. USC Annenberg recognized Gabler and Vestal, along with colleagues Mark Johnson, John Fauber and Kristyna Wentz-Graff, for their series “Deadly Delays,” which investigated processing failures in newborn screening programs.

From the USC news release:

“Deadly Delays” shed light on the nation's newborn screening programs that depend on speed and science to save babies from rare diseases. But, according to the series’ findings, “thousands of hospitals fall short, deadly delays are ignored and failures are hidden from public view — while babies and their families suffer.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative team analyzed information from nearly 3 million newborn screening tests to produce this first-ever look at delays in newborn screening from hospitals across the country.

The team interwove a “rock-solid foundation of data with powerful human detail,” stated the Selden Ring judges. “They found that hundreds of thousands of tests arrive late at labs nationwide, with sometimes devastating consequences.” The jury further hailed the group for making hospital data available online that “allows readers to check their hospitals, a hugely valuable public service.”

Gabler, an IRE Board member, wrote about the series for IRE’s “Transparency Watch” blog last December. Gabler and Vestal also discussed the project during a Google+ Hangout.

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