The State Integrity Investigation (SII), a collaboration between Global Integrity, the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International, has been nominated for the prestigious 2013 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, awarded by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
SII is an unprecedented, data-driven analysis of laws and practices that deter corruption and promote accountability and openness in the 50 states of the USA. The investigation resulted in 16,500 data points on government transparency and accountability gathered from over 1,000 interviews and supported by more than 125,000 words of copy.
“There’s a reason no one had tried this before — it was incredibly challenging and painstaking work to gather more than 16,000 data points coupled with millions of words of original reporting,” said Global Integrity’s Executive Director Nathaniel Heller. “We’re very excited by the recognition afforded to the project by the Goldsmith prize nomination.”
The award “is intended to recognize and encourage journalism which promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics by disclosing excessive secrecy, impropriety and mismanagement, or instances of particularly commendable government performance,” the Center said in a statement.
Thanks to SII’s investigation, an ever-growing number of states have created or accelerated change in state government, ranging from the increase in disclosure requirements for lobbyists and government officials, to the formation of panels to explore ideas for an ethics reform package.
The judges called the project “a wonderful blueprint for reporters all over the country to do the enterprising stories on government” encouraged by the prize, citing it as a “major resource for journalists and citizens.”
“The results speak for themselves,” Heller added. “Reforms are occurring across the country because of the project’s research and reporting. Political leaders and the public finally have a baseline assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their state’s anti-corruption systems, and those insights are being put to use to advance government transparency and accountability in dozens of states.”
The other finalists for the award, which will be presented March 5 at Harvard’s Kenny School of Government in Cambridge, Ma., are “Wal-Mart abroad,” a series by David Barstow for The New York Times, “The Shame of the Boy Scouts,” by Jason Felch, Kim Christensen and members of the Los Angeles Times staff, “Playing with Fire,” by Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne for the Chicago Tribune and “Cheating our Children” by Alan Judd, Heather Vogell, John Perry, M.B. Pell for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.