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Tune in now to the 2019 #GoldsmithAwards panel conversation @Kennedy_School with representatives from each of the finalist reporting teams (or, in one case, the solo reporter who investigated and wrote the story!):
We're thrilled to have @jcsheckler @daffodilaltan @davidmcswane @gingerthomp1 @wendyruderman @ConnorASheets @joe_palazzolo here today on the panel, discussing their #GoldsmithAwards finalist stories.
.@jcsheckler from the @SBTribune and @bykenarmstrong from @ProPublica collaboratively reported on criminal justice issues in Elkhart, Indiana southbendtribune.com/elkhartcoverag… #GoldsmithAwards
.@daffodilaltan @andresacediel and @AbbieVanSickle reported for the @UCBerkeleyIRP & @frontlinepbs on human labor trafficking in the U.S. for Trafficked in America pbs.org/wgbh/frontline… #GoldsmithAwards
.@davidmcswane and @adchavez investigated mishandling of care for medicaid patients in Texas for the @dallasnews in "Pain & Profit" interactives.dallasnews.com/2018/pain-and-… #GoldsmithAwards
.@gingerthomp1 and the team from @ProPublica broke the story about the reality of child separation in immigration detention centers in "Zero Tolerance" propublica.org/series/zero-to… #GoldsmithAwards
.@wendyruderman @barbaralaker @dylancpurcell and the team from the @PhillyInquirer discovered how children were getting sick just from being in Philadelphia schools in "Toxic City: Sick Schools" media.philly.com/storage/specia… #GoldsmithAwards
.@ConnorASheets discovered a sheriff in Etowah County, Alabama was pocketing state, federal & local funds intended for feeding inmates in "Alabama's 'Beach House Sheriff'" for @aldotcom al.com/news/birmingha… #GoldsmithAwards
.@joe_palazzolo @mrothfeld and the team at @WSJ broke the story of hush money paid to cover up damaging sexual allegations against the president in "Trump's Hush Money" wsj.com/articles/trump… #GoldsmithAwards
Panel moderator & Shorensten Center director starts the discussion by asking @gingerthomp1 about how @ProPublica got the now-famous audio recording from inside a children's detention center on the border. "I've worked on the border for decades..." connections = trust = access.
.@gingerthomp1 tells the story of first hearing the tape of children screaming in detention centers. "I put it on my car audio as I was driving home...I knew immediately that it was important." The hard work was authenticating the tape.
The key to @ProPublica authenticating the child detention recording was a little girl who recites her aunt's phone number on the tape. @gingerthomp1 & her colleagues authenticated the tape because that 4 y/o had her aunt's phone number memorized and wouldn't stop saying it.
"Anywhere else in the child protection system" you can't take a child away without evidence, says @gingerthomp1, "except for immigrants at the border" where she & the @ProPublica team discovered that these snap decisions were being made all the time. #GoldsmithAwards
"The breaking of this story was old school...just a reporter and her sources," says @gingerthomp1 about the @ProPublica series Zero Tolerance. propublica.org/series/zero-to… #GoldsmithAwards
"What's it like reporting on police misconduct in a small town where everyone knows who you are and where you live?" @nicco asks @jcsheckler about his reporting for @SBTribune 1/2 southbendtribune.com/elkhartcoverag… #GoldsmithAwards
"Often people just didn't want to talk to us," says @jcsheckler about his investigation with @bykenarmstrong. They relied on public records to build evidence and connections for their investigation. 2/2 #GoldsmithAwards
@jcsheckler and @bykenarmstrong looked at detailed disciplinary committee meeting notes going back years to understand how officer misconduct cases were being dealt with. To learn more about their methods read "how they did it" in @JournoResource journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/rep…
.@ConnorASheets from @aldotcom also waded into reporting on local mishandling of criminal justice, leading to anonymous threats against his family and an "environment of intimidation" around his reporting. #GoldsmithAwards
The Beach House Sheriff story started with a tip from a teen who thought it was odd he was paid to mow the Sheriff's lawn with checks that said "Sheriff's Food Fund" in the top corner, says @ConnorASheets. Learn more about how the story unfolded: stitcher.com/podcast/shoren…
The @WSJ "Trump's Hush Money" story started sort of similarly, says @joe_palazzolo ...with one tip, and a lot of hard work connecting threads and tracking money and human networks. #GoldsmithAwards
There were a lot of circumstantial connections, but @joe_palazzolo explains @WSJ team "needed something tangible we could hold in our hands, and link to in the story." That turned out to be the name & records of the shell company that paid out the hush money. #GoldsmithAwards
The @WSJ team combed through 1000s of company records ("It was fun!" says @joe_palazzolo), following tips & leads they got on the shell company, before finally getting to the Delaware formation documents with Michael Cohen's name on them. #GoldsmithAwards
.@daffodilaltan explains that the story of Trafficked in America grew out of their former @frontlinepbs project on sexual exploitation of night shift janitors pbs.org/wgbh/frontline…. In the course of reporting that story they found human trafficking on U.S. soil.
There has been a lot of reporting on sex trafficking, which are often illegal jobs, but not a lot on human trafficking for legal jobs in the United States. @daffodilaltan & her team wanted to follow the threads from their earlier project & tell the story of the people affected.
"The crime itself is invisible," @daffodilaltan says of human trafficking on U.S. soil. So figuring out how to tell it in documentary film was a challenge. They started with questions, and un-peeling the layers of the crime. #GoldsmithAwards
All the victims of the crime were minors, and tracking the connections could only be done through following tiny clues, mostly tracking back to their families in Guatemala and from there back to the kids in the U.S. @daffodilaltan explains about Trafficked in America.
"We worried we got a little too close at one point" @daffodilaltan says about the suspicious death of one of their sources in the middle of the investigation. It made them take a step back, but in the end the perpetrators were often most willing to go on camera. #GoldsmithAwards
.@davidmcswane & @adchavez started to get the sense there was a systemic problem with medicaid care in Texas through a series of tragic individual cases that had certain similarities. Patient privacy laws made it hard to connect the dots, but eventually they did. #GoldsmithAwards
Finding the foster mother of one child, D'ashon Morris, who was functionally brain dead after denial of needed care, was the key to the whole story. His story also became a central piece of the eventual series "Pain & Profit". #GoldsmithAwards
What's it like knowing that your reporting has made such a difference in this systemic problem? @nicco asks. "It's the best feeling in the world" says @davidmcswane #GoldsmithAwards
"This was actually our third year doing a series on toxins in Philadelphia...I'm hoping for a non-toxic year" says @wendyruderman, who with her team has shown how toxins from former Philly industries has made people sick all across the city, incl. in schools. #GoldsmithAwards
Everyone knew there was lead paint and other toxins in Philadelphia schools, but the @PhillyInquirer team was as surprised as anyone about the scope of the problem. Toxin levels far exceeding levels allowed in rental properties. #GoldsmithAwards
The @PhillyInquirer found cancer-causing fiber levels in Philly schools that were far higher than the level deemed safe in buildings in lower manhattan after 9/11, says @wendyruderman #GoldsmithAwards media.philly.com/storage/specia…
The @PhillyInquirer team recruited teachers to help test in their classrooms, potentially putting their own jobs on the line to protect their students. #GoldsmithAwards
"We probably made the post-it note company rich" @wendyruderman says of the process of organizing their reporting, lead by Investigations Editor @JimNeff4 #GoldsmithAwards
"This story wasn't about sex at all. It was about hush money," and a Presidential candidate trying to cover up something they thought would be bad for their campaign, says @joe_palazzolo about the decision to report on a president or candidate's private lives. #GoldsmithAwards
"What reporters do (in potentially dangerous situations) is a lot of research ahead of time...its not like we're cowboys...we do homework to keep ourselves and the people who are talking to us safe." @gingerthomp1 on safety and danger in #journalism #GoldsmithAwards
"There's a lot of secrecy in small towns" in industrial agricultural communities in the midwest, says @daffodilaltan. When you go in and start asking questions, you draw attention. We knew where we could go and what we could do legally. #GoldsmithAwards
.@daffodilaltan and co-reporter @andresacediel knew they were being watched in the communities where they were reporting on human trafficking, so they wouldn't say nearby & took precautions to stay safe and keep reporting. #GoldsmithAwards
"Internally, as a reporter, you have to know what your boundaries are," in potentially dangerous situations says @daffodilaltan. They made clear decisions in their reporting about human trafficking to make sure they and their team were safe. #GoldsmithAwards
"Reporters still take a lot of their cues about what to write about from Washington," says @gingerthomp1 in response to a question from @Maria_Hinojosa about why it took the dramatic audio from inside a child detention center to create a wave of interest in the issue.
"No matter what your politics are...there's something that happens to a human being when you hear a child crying like that" @gingerthomp1 Widespread horror from across political spectrum to hearing the recording started to turn people's opinions and attention. #GoldsmithAwards
In response to a question about the collapse of local news & capacity for investigative reporting @wendyruderman cites the importance of funders like @lenfestinst which is keeping journalism thriving in Philadelphia. #GoldsmithAwards
Despite the struggles in journalism, "I do think there's a renaissance in funding and interest in local investigative reporting" says @ConnorASheets. He & @jcsheckler are part of @ProPublica's Local Reporting Network propublica.org/local-reportin…
"I've noticed an outpouring of public support for the work that we do, from across the political lines...there's support in the community that I don't think is being seen at the national level," says @davidmcswane of @dallasnews. #GoldsmithAwards
"You don't get rich doing it, there's stress that comes along with it, and I don't know the future of my paper," says @jcsheckler, but "I don't regret the decision I've made" to work a local paper. #GoldsmithAwards
"The industry still has a long way to go to support and retain women who look like me" says @daffodilaltan, giving a shoutout to her new employers @raneyaronson @frontlinepbs for pushing #diversity forward in the news industry. #GoldsmithAwards
"Could you have done the reporting you did without your personal background?" @Nicco asks @daffodilaltan "No." Cultural competency is critical for this kind of reporting. Read more about this in @JournoResource journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/rep… #GoldsmithAwards
"I try to look for stories where people are being hurt by the powerful," says @davidmcswane about choosing stories to follow from the firehose of potential stories. #GoldsmithAwards
Many panelists talking about the importance of #collaborativejournalism for reporting these and other stories. Finding the best partners and collaborators in order to tell the fullest possible version of the story. #GoldsmithAwards
That's a wrap on the #GoldsmithAwards 2019 finalist panel. If you missed it, or want to revisit the conversation later, you can watch the whole thing on @ForumNetwork from @wgbh and look for it on @cspan!
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