2019 Morley Safer Award

Winner: Hannah Dreier

Honored for “Trapped in Gangland: How the MS-13 Crackdown Shattered Immigrant Lives”
Written for ProPublica, as appeared in New York Magazine, Newsday, This American Life, and The New York Times Magazine.
Retrieved from: https://www.propublica.org/series/ms-13-on-long-island

Each part of her winning series, “Trapped in Gangland: How the MS-13 Crackdown Shattered Immigrant Lives,” focused on one Central American immigrant whose life was devastated by the Trump administration’s ill-considered crackdown on the MS-13 gang. Based on more than one hundred interviews, copious public records and building on an accumulation of damning details, Dreier’s storytelling is vivid and effortless. The series exposes a pattern of law enforcement bias and negligence and shows how the government’s bungled crackdown on MS-13 tore apart the lives of Latino immigrants who had fled violence in their homelands. Dreier’s pieces bring a fresh perspective to a much-covered subject and are an exceptional example of compelling storytelling about a complex issue.


Citations for Excellence

Madeleine Baran
Madeleine Baran

Honored for season two of “In the Dark”
As appeared in American Public Media
Retrieved from: https://www.apmreports.org/in-the-dark/season-two

This 11-episode podcast details the case of Curtis Flowers, an African American man from Mississippi. He was imprisoned for 21 years and tried six times for murder while the white prosecutor fought to ensure his execution. This focus on justice rather than the crime is reporting that changes perspective.

Julie Brown
Julie Brown

Honored for “Perversion of Justice”
As appeared in The Miami Herald
Retrieved from: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html

A three-part series of stories about how billionaire Jeffrey Epstein manipulated the criminal justice system and how his traumatized accusers were betrayed by the prosecutors who pledged to protect them. Brown’s exhaustive reporting led to renewed scrutiny of a story that had been out of the headlines.

James Jacoby and Anya Bourg
James Jacoby
Anya Bourg

Honored for “The Facebook Dilemma”
As appeared in Frontline
Retrieved from: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/facebook-dilemma/

The two-part documentary exposes how for years Facebook ignored internal and external warnings about threats that are now headline news: Russian meddling, fake news and online extremism. This story raises questions about the judgment of company leaders across the social media landscape.

Naveena Sadasivam and Zoë Schlanger
Naveena Sadasivam
Zoë Schlanger

Honored for “Shallow Waters”
As appeared in The Texas Observer and Quartz
Retrieved from: https://www.texasobserver.org/shallow-waters/

This nine-part series warns of severe environmental threats along the Rio Grande. The planned border wall combined with the impact of global warming will increase the risks of extreme droughts and flooding. As the media focused on immigration, these reporters concentrated on a different part of the Rio Grande story: the plight of 6 million people who depend on the river for drinking and irrigation water.