‘Case Cleared’ wins Online Journalism Award for innovation in investigative journalism
CINCINNATI — “Case Cleared,” a joint investigation from Newsy, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica, is the recipient of the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award from the Online News Association (ONA).
The Online Journalism Awards are administered by ONA and are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism. Recipients of the Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award are honored for stories that uncover major news based on investigations that advance and serve the public interest.
“Case Cleared,” released in late 2018, uncovered how dozens of cities in America are making many rape cases look as though they are solved without actually arresting a suspected rapist. The investigation found that in those cities, exceptional clearance, a type of clearance intended to be the exception, has instead become the rule for closing rape cases.
“Case Cleared” also uncovered a major flaw in the FBI’s new system for tracking crime reports, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Cases classified as “unfounded,” where police either do not believe the victim or do not believe the crime occurred, are no longer tracked — erasing any trace of this practice in the FBI’s new system. Within just weeks of the report, the FBI moved to fast-track a fix to its next-generation national uniform crime report.
The investigation also had significant impact at local levels:
- In Austin, the series led to an audit by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which concluded that nearly one-third of the cases Austin police exceptionally cleared were misclassified. Nearly 300 detectives were ordered to be retrained.
- The Texas House of Representatives and Senate unanimously approved the creation of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force inside the governor’s office, bringing money and support at the highest levels of state government to reform how rapes are tracked, investigated and prosecuted across Texas.
- In New York City, the investigation uncovered the NYPD was undercounting rape by 38% compared to FBI statistics. Forty-eight hours after the story was released, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city will update its system by the end of the year to report all rapes that meet the FBI’s definition.
Earlier this year, the project won a Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. It also has been nominated for a national News and Documentary Emmy Award for “Outstanding Investigative Report in a Newsmagazine.”
Newsy is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).
Newsy is leading cross-platform television news network that provides “news with the why,” built to inform and engage by delivering the top stories across every platform. Its content is available on cable; on over-the-top services including Hulu, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Sling TV, Pluto TV, and Google Chromecast; and on connected television including Xumo. Newsy is also available via its mobile apps and at newsy.com.
Kari Wethington, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513–977–3763, firstname.lastname@example.org