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IRE Journalism Educators'
1997 IRE Awards
Return to The IRE Contest
The IRE Awards were established in 1979. Click on a date to see past winners:
1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979
The Renner Award
to David Rummel, Rhonda Schwartz, Brian Ross, Simon Surowicz, Mishi
Ebrahim and Phyllis McGrady
ABC News for "Blood Money".
About the selling of organs of executed Chinese prisoners.
"Judges' comments: ABC's PrimeTime Live showed commendable enterprise in
developing strong visual proof of an almost unbelievable practice -- the
for-profit harvesting of organs from prisoners executed in China. While
not a criminal enterprise in the traditional sense, this
practice nevertheless represented organized criminal activity of the
worst kind. With chilling footage from the killing field and from the
hospital where organs are extracted, ABC provided riveting public service
in so clearly documenting this organs-for-sale scheme. "
IRE Medal to Patrick Weiland, John Larson, Lindsey Schwartz, Susan
Farkas, Allen Maraynes and Neal Shapiro
Dateline NBC for "Probable Cause."
Investigates the misuse of Louisiana's drug asset forfeiture law.
Judges' comments: "Dateline NBC's probing of Louisiana's enforcement of
its drug asset forfeiture law represented startlingly original reporting
on practices so outrageous that they might be hard to believe without the
convincing documentation this report provided. Dateline revealed not only
systematic illegal traffic stops, brutal behavior and unfair seizures, but
also a system in which judges who decide cases benefit from ill-gotten
gains and innocent citizens must actually pay to go to court to get their
Newspapers - Circulation More Than
IRE Medal to Gary Cohn and Will Englund
The Baltimore Sun for "The Shipbreakers"
Reporters Gary Cohn and Will Englund examine a little-known global
industry which harms workers and the environment.
Judges' comments: "The Baltimore Sun's examination of the dangerous,
shadowy world of "ship breaking" -- the salvage of surplus vessels -- was
a marvelous job of cracking open a vital, new subject. It featured human
drama, vivid story telling and amazing photography, all against the
backdrop of tremendous originality and enterprise."
Television - Top 20 Market
IRE Medal to Joel Grover and Sylvia Teague
KCBS-TV, Los Angeles for
"License for Sale."
An expose of widespread corruption inside the California Department of Motor
"With great undercover enterprise reporting, KCBS-TV of Los Angeles did
an old-fashioned job of revealing a scandal and spurring officials into
action. In this case, the scandal was an elaborate network for selling
legitimate California drivers licenses -- important because they've become
de facto identification cards -- used for everything from getting
government services to boarding commercial airliners. KCBS' report even
included the confession of one of the principal perpetrators in the
IRE Certificate to Shirley Enebrad and Emily Langlie
KOMO-TV, of Seattle for "Poor Justice? The Susan Cummings story."
About the conviction and imprisonment of a 16-year-old girl for a murder
she may not have committed.
Judges' comments: "In tackling a project few stations would attempt,
KOMO-TV of Seattle made a convincing case that an innocent woman had been
wrongly convicted of murder, and that authorities were, at best, negligent
in handling her case. KOMO deserves high praise for righting a wrong and
for committing significant resources to a long-forgotten murder case."
Newspapers - Circulation Between 100,000 and
IRE Certificate to Jeff Montgomery
The News Journal (Wilmington,
Del.) for a series on
land inventories at the Delaware Department of Transportation - "Del DOT Land Lords."
An in-depth look at the Delaware Department of Transportation's land
Judges' comments: "The News Journal's look at the
Delaware Department of Transportation's real estate practices was a
classic story of how taxpayers
lose out through the bungling, ineptitude and cronyism of government
bureaucrats. After more than four dozen stories, state officials ordered an
overhaul of the department's land office that promises to save the public
significant sums of money."
Television - Below Top 20 Market
IRE Certificate to Stuart Watson and Richard Adkins
Raleigh, N.C., for "Military Medical Malpractice: Who Pays the Price?"
Stuart Watson reports on how medical malpractice remains a well-kept
military secret, with no one protecting millions of U.S. servicemen and
women or their families from inept doctors.
Judges' comments: "WRAL-TV of Raleigh, N.C. probed an area the public
rarely considers -- the quality of medicine in the military -- and exposed
shocking standards and practices that hurt the lives and families of many
people. It's never easy to investigate the military, but WRAL successfully
showed that while the United States may field the best armed forces in the
world, the men and women who serve their country are at risk when they
turn to the services for health care. WRAL's work benefited from a joint
effort with the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, whose series, "Unnecessary Danger," was
a finalist in the medium newspapers category. "
Newspapers - Circulation Below
IRE Certificate to Anne Brennan and William Mills
Cape Cod Times,
Mass. for "Broken
Trust: The Failed Cleanup at the Massachusetts Military Reservation."
Reporters Anne Brennan and William Mills report on the flawed hazardous
waste cleanup at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod and
the possible effects on public health.
Judges' comments: Cape Cod Times' exploration of contamination by the
military of crucial ground water supplies was an exhaustive, persistent
effort on an issue of extreme local importance. It convincingly showed
both government incompetence and obstruction at all levels. There was good
follow-up, and it was refreshing to see a small newspaper make such a significant
commitment of resources to pursue this worthy project."
IRE Certificate to the late Angus Mackenzie, Howard Kohn and Stephen
Secrets: The CIA's War At Home Center for
Investigative Reporting, University of California
Describes the CIA's role in attempting to censor alternative newspapers
and squelch free speech from the Vietnam War forward.
Judges' comments: Secrets: The CIA's War at Home was a sweeping,
thoroughly documented and engagingly written look at Central Intelligence
Agency activities against the American people -- from illegal domestic
intelligence activities to successful attempts at restricting
constitutional protections. In tracing CIA actions since the post-World
War II formation of the agency to the present day, Secrets shows the
sustained nature of the agency's assault on the people it's supposed to
IRE Certificate to Peter Keating, Nancy Perry Graham and Tyler
Money Magazine for "Why You May Be Getting the Wrong
Peter Keating's investigation exposes the often tragic results of new
alliances among big drug companies, managed care organizations and
middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers.
Judges' comments: "How would you feel if someone changed your prescription
medication without your knowledge? In examining the growing influence of
"pharmacy benefit managers," Money magazine revealed this disturbing new
dimension of the nation's push toward managed health care -- one that
sometimes endangers lives. Money also documented growing alliances between
drug makers and these "PBMs" that raise serious questions of conflict of