University of Florida Investigative Data Journalism Award
The College, with the Online News Association, launched an award in 2014 honoring investigative data journalism as part of ONA’s Online Journalism Awards. The award honors high-impact data journalism that is exceptionally well presented and is given in two size categories: small/medium and large. Each winning entry receives a $7,500 prize established through a generous gift to the University of Florida from the estate of the late Lorraine Dingman.
Winners of the University of Florida Award also are invited to the UF campus to work with CJC students and faculty as journalists in residence. The costs of their travel and lodging are also supported by the Dingman gift. While at Florida, the winners will be invited to share their expertise and show how they produced their award-winning work.
ProPublica was honored in the Small/Medium Newsroom category for “Roots of a Breakout,” which investigated how viruses spill over from animals to humans.The Washington Post won in the Large Newsroom category for “Black Out.” The series investigating the National Football League’s hiring and firing practices and their effects on Black coaches two decades after the NFL implemented its famed “Rooney Rule” to improve diversity.
ProPublica was honored in the Small/Medium Newsroom category for “Sacrifice Zones: Mapping Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution.” The series used data analysis to reveal more than 1,000 hot spots of toxic air pollution that the EPA has allowed to take root across America. The Washington Post received the Large Newsroom honor for Unaccountable, an investigative series examining how much cities pay to resolve police misconduct allegations such as excessive force and illegal search and seizure.
In the Large Newsroom category, the Associated Press and KHN (Kaiser Health News) won for their Underfunded and Under Threat series. The stories take a definitive look at how the nation systematically gutted public health departments ahead of the largest health crisis in generations. In the Small/Medium Newsroom category, Grist and The Texas Observer won for Waves of Abandonment, a series on the more than 7,000 oil and gas wells in Texas and New Mexico that were abandoned during the pandemic and their impact on the environment.
The Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois were honored in the Large Newsroom category for The Quiet Rooms. This three-part investigation focused on an Illinois law intended to protect students from being locked away in stark rooms as punishment or physically restrained to get them to behave. Southern California Public Radio took the top honor In the Small/Medium Newsroom category for Stuck: Inside California’s Housing Crisis. This data-driven story uncovered a shocking record of shoddy living conditions which targeted the poorest tenants and conditions so dangerous that they resulted in the death of an infant.
NJ Advance Media won in the large market newsroom category for “The Force Report,” a 16-month investigation that produced “the most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force in the United States. The first-of-its-kind resource allows readers to search every use of force by local officers and state troopers from 2012 through 2016, the most recent full year then available.” Read more about the series here: https://awards.journalists.org/entries/the-force-report/.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won in the small/medium newsroom category for “Lessons Lost,” a “massive undertaking by a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to obtain and analyze a never-before-released database that tracked student-by-student movement among Wisconsin schools and to illustrate the causes and consequences of churn through the stories of individual families and schools.” Read more about “Lessons Lost” here: https://awards.journalists.org/entries/lessons-lost/
ProPublica and the Times-Union were honored in the small/medium newsroom category for “Walking While Black”, an investigative report that showed enforcement of pedestrian tickets in Duval County, Florida, to be racially disproportionate and possessed lasting consequences to those ticketed.
The Guardian U.S. won in the large newsroom category for “Bussed Out: How America Moves its Homeless”, an 18-month investigation that was the first detailed analysis of America’s homeless relocation programs. The investigative team, which compiled a database of more than 34,000 journeys and analyzed their effect on cities and the travelers, produced a stunning interactive site that has received industry-wide acclaim.
The Globe and Mail was honored in the large newsroom category for Unfounded, a 20-month investigation into how Canadian police services handle sexual assault cases.
The Intercept’s Trial and Terror, which won in the small/medium newsroom category, featured the results of a year-long investigation into why more than half of the people prosecuted on international terrorism-related charges have been released. The Intercept also won in 2016.
The Intercept won in the Small/Medium category for The Drone Papers. The series focused on a cache of secret documents obtained by The Intercept detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars.
The Orlando Sentinel won in the Large category for Focus on Force: An Investigation in Use of Force by the Orlando Police Department. The investigative series chronicles the Orlando Police Department’s use of force from 2010 to 2014 – more than double the rate of some similarly sized agencies – resulting in the city and its insurer paying $3.6 million in police-brutality claims.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won in the Small/Medium category for the second year in a row for The Trouble with Taxes: A Look at How Inappropriate Reductions in Property Assessments Create an Imbalanced System. The investigative series uncovered that in many Wisconsin communities, property assessor practices have led to 20 percent or more of residential property taxes being paid by the wrong people and that state officials have done little to rectify the disparities.
The Austin American-Statesman won in the Large category for their investigative report Missed Signs, Fatal Consequences. The series showed how Texas Child Protective Services failed to systematically analyzed public records data, missing deadly patterns and key pieces of information that could help protect kids.
Minnesota Public Radio’s coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse by the clergy in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s reporting on delays in hospital screening of newborns won the inaugural “University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism” at the Online News Association’s 2014 Online Journalism Awards banquet, Sept. 27, in Chicago.
Video from the 2014 awards ceremony:
About the Online News Association
The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of digital journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, developers, photographers, educators, students and others who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards, which honor data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service, technical innovation and general excellence.