FIJ Grantees Win Journalism Awards

Journalists working with grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism have been honored with two awards from the 2015 National Press Club Journalism Contest.

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, a freelance reporter for the Center for Public Integrity was honored for his series, “Understaffed and Underserved: a Look Inside America’s Nursing Homes.” He won the Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatrics. The judges commented that Lowenstein’s series “exposed how some nursing homes are significantly understaffed, have pronounced racial disparities, and yet receive financial support from the federal government to expand and build new facilities. Using sophisticated techniques of data collection and reporting, the Lowenstein series shows how the information on a government site for consumers overstates the hours nurses are available to care for patients. And it documents cases of the same nursing homes getting financial help from the federal government for refinancing and rebuilding.”

Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones, writing in collaboration with InsideClimate News, The Weather Channel, and The Investigative Fund, were also honored. Their series, “Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem” won the Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award. Judges commented: “Using a combination of analytical text, insightful graphics, and compelling video, ‘Boom’ tells how the unexpected success of oil drilling in places like North Dakota is creating unanticipated demand on an antiquated railway distribution system under lax regulation. One result: catastrophic derailment accidents in unsuspecting towns, some with frighteningly epic fiery explosions caught on mobile phone video and incorporated into the multimedia presentation.

The Lowenstein series on nursing homes was also honored with a Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club for Best Non-Deadline Reporting Online.