Multiplatform news network Newsy and the investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat are the winners of the Scripps Howard Award for innovation for their Newsy+Bellingcat video series driven by open-source reporting.
The innovation category recognizes journalism that embraces new tools, channels, technologies and approaches or creatively uses established methods to provide better content and more meaningful experiences for consumers. It honors those who not only experiment with new methods of story gathering and presentation, but effectively execute these approaches and deliver works of impact.
Newsy was nominated alongside The Washington Post and WBEZ Chicago Public Media. Previous recipients in the Scripps Howard Award innovation category include BBC, Propublica and the USA Today Network.
The Newsy+Bellingcat newsroom collaboration pairs Newsy’s creative visual storytelling and reporting with Bellingcat’s innovative approach to using publicly available data and citizen journalist analysis. For the video series, reporters work together to utilize satellite imagery, social media and online tools to shed light on international conflict and extremism — from showing how tear gas canisters have killed protesters in Iraq to finding white supremacists in the ranks of the U.S. military.
Recent reports from the Newsy+Bellingcat series revealed:
- several American active-duty servicemen active in the Iron March forum, an online gathering place for neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Reporters culled through thousands of messages and usernames from the leaked neo-Nazi forum and used a variety of digital detective tools and records searches to connect the usernames to active duty military personnel.
- the identities of the Russian-backed soldiers linked to the downing of the MH17 airliner in Eastern Ukraine in 2014. Both the video from this series and the full report from Bellingcat have been referenced by the Joint Investigation Team at The Hague as it seeks the criminal prosecution of the separatists.
- the presence of a Turkish-backed rebel group at the site where a Kurdish political leader was killed in Syria. This report connected the dots between extrajudicial killings near the Turkey-Syria border. Newsy and Bellingcat spent weeks examining satellite imagery and dozens of videos posted to social media among rebel networks.
- photos and video evidence that showed an unexpected source of protester casualties in Iraq: tear gas canisters fired directly into crowds. Reporters sorted through dozens of videos and photos uploaded online to uncover this information.
Now in its 67th year, the Scripps Howard Awards competition is administered by the Scripps Howard Foundation, which presents $170,000 in prize money to the winning organizations and journalists.
The awards will be presented April 16 at an evening event in Cincinnati and also streamed live on YouTube and Facebook. The awards program will be rebroadcast April 26 on Newsy and on Scripps television stations throughout the summer.
Newsy is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).