2016 Winner: Associated Press
The Associated Press won the 2016 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics for reporting that resulted in the freeing of 2,000 slave laborers used by the fishing industry in Southeast Asia.
While investigating an Asian “slave island” that provides fish for the American market, AP reporters Martha Mendoza, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Esther Htusan realized that any slave who talked with them faced possible execution. The reporters and their editors decided to rescue their sources from the island before publishing the explosive story.
“There is nothing unusual about journalists protecting their sources from discovery,” Jack Mitchell, chair of the judging committee, said. “But journalists usually minimize involvement beyond that. The AP defied convention by taking responsibility for the welfare and safety of the slaves, who were willing to face death to tell their stories. The journalists got the men to safety before publishing the stories.”
The AP team was chosen for the award over four other finalists who also demonstrated exceptional commitment to ethical journalism last year. They were:
- A team of journalists from McClatchy newspapers who took care to preserve the medical privacy of victims while exposing the human toll of America’s Cold War-era nuclear energy programs.
- ProPublica and NPR, who took similar care in protecting the privacy and dignity of sick and injured employees as their reporters revealed how states across the country are curtailing workers compensation programs.
- Reporters from the Columbus Dispatch, who also dealt with privacy issues in reporting on suicides as a public health issue, while considering the probability that reporting on suicides might lead to copycat attempts.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Gina Barton, who faced an array of ethical challenges reopening a 40-year-old unsolved murder case that, fairly or unfairly, might reflect badly on individuals and institutions.
2015 Winner: Chicago Tribune
The 2015 Shadid award goes to a team from The Chicago Tribune, whose revelations about serious abuses in Illinois’ juvenile justice system brought about reforms and led to the resignation of the director of the state Department of Children and Family Services.
The team includes David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib, reporters for the Chicago Tribune – and Anthony Souffle, photographer for the Chicago Tribune.
2014 Winner: Associated Press
AP reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, and AP editor Ted Bridis, won the Shadid Award for their report on the disappearance of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared while working in Iran.