Journalists uncovered decades of New York police disciplinary records, detailed a university’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, and investigated deaths inside detention facilities. Their efforts have been recognized by the News Leaders Association, which announced its 2021 First Amendment Award recipients on May 12, 2021.
The awards recognize “the best journalism advancing Freedom of Information principles or overcoming significant resistance to the application of the First Amendment,” according to the News Leaders Association.
ProPublica’s “The NYPD Files” won top honors. The project revealed disciplinary records that the New York Police Department had kept secret, and collected the data in a searchable database.
“After mining all of the data that NYPD didn’t want it to see, these investigative journalists put it in a searchable database for anyone and everyone to peruse, ensuring that the First Amendment, indeed, is a living, breathing document,” the News Leaders Association wrote.
USA Today’s “LSU Mishandled Sexual Misconduct Claims” was named a finalist for its “tenacious reporting and legal victories” in holding Louisiana State University accountable for its handling of sexual abuse allegations against students and athletes, the News Leaders Association wrote.
The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; Florida Today in Brevard County, Florida; and KXAN in Austin, Texas, received special citations for “shining a light inside detention facilities where men had died in custody in their states,” according to the News Leaders Association.