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News21 Wins Seventh National EPPY Award for Investigation into Disaster Recovery

October 29, 2019

Firefighters stand in the aftermath of a desert wildfire. (Photo by Anton Delgado/News21)

For the second consecutive year, the Carnegie-Knight News21, based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has won the top investigative collegiate award from Editor & Publisher magazine.

Thirty-seven journalism students and recent graduates from 19 universities, including ASU, spent the summer producing News21’s in-depth multimedia reporting project, “State of Emergency.” This year’s win is the seventh prestigious EPPY Award for News21.

“State of Emergency” is comprised of 16 digital stories, dozens of survivors’ portraits and four half-hour documentaries on hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and flooding. Students also produced a five-episode podcast following a disaster from the moment a storm hit through the long recovery process.

The students traveled to 25 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to conduct the in-depth investigation into how local and federal agencies respond to communities devastated by natural disasters.

Carnegie-Knight News21 brings the nation’s top journalism students together at the Cronkite School to create in-depth multimedia projects for major media outlets, including The Washington Post and USA Today.

News21 executive editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Jacquee Petchel led the project.

“This award is such a testament to the powerful work being done by young journalists at the Cronkite School and our partner universities across the country,” Petchel said. “But more importantly, it demonstrates the importance of creating an inspired generation of journalists who care about investigative and accountability journalism at a time when we need it most.”

News 21’s previous EPPY-winning projects include an investigation into hate crimes in 2018, voting rights in 2016 and 2012, gun regulations in 2014, and an investigation into the battles facing post-9/11 veterans in 2013.

The EPPY Award winners are decided by a panel of 50 judges working in the media industry.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program. News21 fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists that include The Arizona Republic, The Dallas Morning News, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Heart Foundations, International Ireland Funds, Knight Foundation, Murray Endowment, Diane Laney Fitzpatrick, Myrta J. Pulliam and John and Patty Williams.

Cronkite School EPPY Award-winning projects include: