This report provides exceptional insight into the cloistered world of the Roman Catholic Church during the sexual abuse scandal. Jason Berry shows how one priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, and his largesse, slowed or halted investigations into his abuse of boys over a period of decades. And Berry holds specific individuals to account for their failure to act, which is impressive, given how secretive the church is. The level of detail Berry provides is a credit to his tenacity, his knowledge of the subject and the quality of his sources. This story gives fresh evidence that the scandal was covered up at high levels of the church, and in some cases, in exchange for money. Some stories need to be told no matter how long it takes. This is one of them.
McDonald's series of stories on schools, libraries and air pollution in Los Angeles are not directly connected, but provide an intriguing and occasionally alarming tapestry of the public policy decisions that have intended and unintended effects on the lives of the city’s children. As a group, these stories are very impressive, and reflect inventive and aggressive reporting, well executed.
This piece tells a story that sounds unbelievable in a compelling way that made you want to look more deeply into child protective services across the country. In addition, the story got results: The Denver Department of Human Services canceled the $5,000 foster care bill it had been trying to collect from Kristen Stillman for her four children, the products of a man who raped her as a child.
Who knew that sheriff’s officials in Harris County, Texas, were placing children as young as 15 in solitary confinement, bereft of counseling, physical activity and education? No one, apparently – not even the judges who sent them there. With dogged reporting and compelling writing, Vogel exposes a justice system that seems to have given up on its most vulnerable. The project prompted outrage and action, among legislators, academics and advocates.
This article features exemplary investigative reporting on a sensitive issue – child sexual abuse – with national implications. There are few feats more demanding than navigating the moral imperatives of protecting the young as well as the innocent, but Smith walks that knife edge masterfully.
A searing account of the challenges faced by parents of children with mental illnesses and a juvenile corrections system ill-equipped to help them. Tightly reported and well-written, the stories are an unrelenting call for attention and action on behalf of discarded children.
This is the epitome of public service journalism. The Long Island Press made a commitment to educating its community about a growing heroin epidemic among young people. The team simultaneously reveals a hidden scourge and a disturbing truth about the community at large. The series exposes wrongdoing and deception by school administrators, who stonewalled the reporters and put their schools’ reputations above student health. Readers see the problem from all angles – through the eyes of kids, parents, schools and cops. The story did what the best stories do: It galvanized an entire community to take action.
A revealing examination of Texas’ child support system: Many men, mostly poor ones, are forced to pay child support for children they did not father. While Feldman fairly points out the state’s nationwide recognition for enforcing child support laws, she deftly explores the many troubling questions that could have simply gone unasked. Has the state railroaded poor, uneducated men into financial hardship? If Texas receives federal funds based in part on the amount of child support that it collects, is there a budgetary incentive to close these cases? And what happens to the men whose rights are trampled?
The piece exposes a tragic adoption scenario: In an effort to place three brothers, Florida’s Department of Children and Families concealed the traumatic sexual abuse endured by the boys. The adoptive parents wanted to create a family and make a difference in the world but in the end, it’s their world that is upended. The piece is well-crafted, suspenseful and packed with rich detail. Funcheon weaves classic narrative with superb reporting.
This is the strain of journalism that elevates the profession: crusading and authoritative, passionate and clearly told. Secret exposes gaping holes in the investigation and prosecution of a 15-year-old robbery suspect, any number of which would undermine judicial fairness. High-impact coverage of an increasingly common story of miscarried justice.
A riveting account of what happens when well-intentioned laws designed to prevent truancy hurt the very kids they were designed to protect. Hsu takes a complicated subject and streamlines it through the life of one student.
Readers hunger for hopeful stories – this one addresses that longing without sacrificing the sorrowful backdrop that makes a 9-year-old’s optimism in the face of adversity even more inspiring.
An insightful look at the forgotten victims in the drug wars – the children.
The reporter conveys the complexities involving Derrick Steele’s struggles to overcome addictions to find meaningful, legal work through a Durham jobs program. Secret also shows how the program falters through lack of funding and commitment, leaving participants unsteady and on the edge.
Shapiro offers a disturbing glimpse inside a deportation system that rips families apart and treats immigrants – some of whom might be U.S. citizens – as if they were convicted criminals.
Fenske’s clear-eyed probe of a school devoted to homeless children reveals its failure to provide them with a good education; she constructed a convincing case for closing it.
The paper’s commitment to covering -- and uncovering -- the story of how a sect of fundamentalist Mormon polygamists took over a town didn’t just make for compelling reading, it was important work, revealing shockingly widespread sexual abuse, pedophilia and misuse of public funds that had gone on for years. This body of work shows lots of shoe-leather and determination.
An insightful, unflinching look at a football team in a bleak neighborhood, the story shed light on the challenges the players and the coaches face and captured the difficulty of giving hope to teenagers who need it.
This story -- a detailed account of the travails of a 172-pound 10-year-old girl struggling with adult-onset diabetes -- personalizes the pressing issue of childhood obesity. One doctor quoted calls the epidemic of adult-onset diabetes in children "one of the big stories of the millennium," and Gard found a way, by delving deeply and with understanding into a child's life, family situation, diet and daily routine, to capture that sense of importance.
Reckdahl's dogged reporting turned up this disturbing story about the evictions of public housing residents based on confidential juvenile records.
In this account of an illegal immigrant who wants to attend college, Thorpe tells a fresh, revealing and insightful story.
The story chronicles the struggle of an adoptive family to obtain mental health services for their severely emotionally troubled son. It touches on funding of the mental-health system, high-risk adoption and the various mental disorders and conditions linked to fetal alcohol syndrome. It’s a compelling subject done nicely.
Gurnon’s story is an alarming look at one community’s desperate need for dental care, and the needless suffering of low-income children
Reckdahl’s series of strong reports show that the juvenile justice system in Louisiana needs more accountability for how it treats young offenders. Her indefatigable reporting is the series' strength. She uses case histories and numbers in addressing the questions of how best to handle juvenile offenders, and she gives a full and compelling report on the troubled Tallulah Correctional Center for Youth.
This illuminating story showed an unexpected and potentially deleterious result from the state’s welfare-to-work program. Karp explains how things are, how they came to be and keeps returning to the most important consequence — the lack of strong early childhood education for those who most need it.
By mixing compelling human interest stories with old-fashioned muckraking, the Reporter hooked readers, and then outraged them, with this fine series on inner-city schooling. The staff consistently busted cliches and never lost sight of the people at the center of the story: children and families.