The Investigative Fund has a rich history of producing stories that serve as catalysts for social change. Our reporters have given Congressional testimony, and their stories have spurred Congressional investigations, sparked federal indictments and uncovered fraud andhuman rights abuses at home and abroad. So it’s great when this work gets honored by our journalistic peers with a spate of awards.
The latest include two-time Investigative Fund reporting duo, Hilke Schellmann and Habiba Nosheen, who won a South Asian Journalists Association award for their October 2010 Glamour magazine piece on the trend of military wives serving as surrogate mothers. While active duty U. S. service members comprise less than half of one percent of the American population, Schellmann and Nosheen found, they are 12 to 15 percent of the surrogate pool and often use the money that they make from the arrangements to help support their own families while their significant others are away at war. Judges were impressed that it had been “published in Glamour, competing against headlines like ’30 Flirty Dresses under $125’…priceless!”
Laura Tillman and Amanda Robb completed a “three-peat” by each winning the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Maggie Award — representing the third year in a row Investigative Fund reporting on reproductive rights has been singled out for the award. (Investigative Fund reporters Sarah Blustain and Kathryn Joyce won the Maggie Award in 2009 and 2010, for their stories “Life Sentence” and “Shotgun Adoption,” respectively.) Tillman’s August 2010 Nation story “Crossing the Line” revealed the effects of a lack of access to safe and affordable abortion clinics on women, especially those in more impoverished communities. She learned that some Texas women, who had only heard abortion discussed negatively, have been known to ask, “Wait a second, abortion is legal?” Amanda Robb’s May 2010 “Not a Lone Wolf,” published in Ms., probed the story of Scott Roeder, the man who murdered abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, and came up with convincing evidence that Roeder did not act alone. The investigation was also a finalist for a Western Publishing Association Maggie Award, which reporter Anna Lenzer won last year.
Last week the winners of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awards were announced, and the November 2010 story “Children of the Exodus” by Melissa del Bosque, which investigates the fate of children who have been deported, won third place. It also won in the Magazine category of the 2011 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, for “taking readers on the hunt through first-person accounts of what [des Bosque] sees and hears” and for enabling “us to feel the atmosphere of fear, incompetence, desperation and duplicity.” Jason Berry’s “Money and Influence-Peddling at the Vatican” in The National Catholic Reporter, about the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado who was a successful fundraiser for the Catholic Church and a notorious pedophile. Berry’s story also won a Casey Medal, in theNon-daily category. Judges said of the article, “Some stories need to be told no matter how long it takes. This is one of them.”
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on July 28, 2011, to reflect the winners of the Casey Medals.