A three-part series titled “The Superfund Site Next Door: Toxins and Mistrust in Atlanta” by Aydali Campa of Inside Climate News has won the top prize in the 2022 Shaufler Prize in Journalism professional category.
Campa’s reporting explored how residents of predominantly Black communities on Atlanta’s West Side grappled with the EPA’s 2022 designation of their neighborhoods as a Superfund site.
Campa, who worked on this series as a Roy W. Howard fellow for Inside Climate News, explored the residents’ wariness of the creep of gentrification and their questioning why a cleanup was happening decades after the pollution itself had been deposited. Campa built a narrative about local life and mistrust of institutions, accomplished by gaining trust among sources.
The Shaufler Prize is administered by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. It recognizes America’s best journalism advancing the understanding of stories and issues related to underserved people in society, such as communities of color, immigrants and LGBTQ+. The contest distributes $20,000 in prizes.
“The Cronkite School is proud to recognize this outstanding journalism, and we will continue to do our part to train reporters, editors, videographers and others who can tell these important stories and impact change in their communities and the world,” said Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr., dean of the Cronkite School.
Campa covers environmental justice for Inside Climate News, and received a master’s degree in investigative journalism from the Cronkite School.
“I am incredibly grateful to Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication for recognizing this environmental justice story and other stories highlighting issues affecting underserved people. It is an honor to have been considered for this award among many other talented and experienced journalists,” Campa said. “Trust between institutions and historically marginalized communities is an important element to consider as we report on efforts to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change and environmental hazards.”
Second place in the professional category was awarded to writer Jamie Smith Hopkins of the Center for Public Integrity, and a podcast team with Transmitter Media. The team produced “The Wealth Vortex,” a longform story and an accompanying five-episode podcast that followed the efforts of Iowa entrepreneur ReShonda Young to address a racial wealth gap in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa as she attempted to open the only Black-owned bank in her state. The story was also published in USA Today and the Des Moines Register.
Third place in the professional category went to “Cheated at Work,” a data based investigation from the Center for Public Integrity that examined, in part, how vulnerable guest workers are being shorted on pay while in the U.S. for seasonal, low-wage jobs. Advocates say workers are often scared to complain and risk losing one of the coveted visas. The series was reported by Susan Ferriss, with data reporting and analysis by Joe Yerardi, and also was distributed by the Associated Press and Univision.
Shaufler Prize judges have also awarded an honorable mention designation to the work of the New York Times for “Overlooked No More”, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose lives and deaths went uncovered by the Times – primarily because of their gender, race or social status. Judges said the work deserved recognition for providing a roadmap that other journalism outlets could follow. As the editor of the series notes: “People of color in the United States may not have been given opportunities to make change in the world, but they did it anyway, pushing back against barriers and fighting injustice to make the world a better place, not just for themselves, but for generations to come …They didn’t seek the spotlight, and so it usually never came.”
In the student category, the top prize went to “Mega Billions: The Great Lottery Wealth Transfer,” produced by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland. It explored how state lotteries intentionally sucked wealth out of poorer, often Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, transferring billions of dollars to multinational companies no longer based in the U.S.
Winners in the professional and student categories will be recognized on March 23 during an awards ceremony at the Cronkite School. The event will also be streamed as a Cronkite Live special event via YouTube.
Now in its second year, the Shaufler Prize was established by Paul B. Anderson, the principal & CEO of Workhouse Media in Seattle, Washington to honor his late friend, Ed Shaufler, who died in late 2020. Shaufler cared deeply about promoting understanding of underrepresented people.
“I am gratified that we are able to honor and recognize important work that shines a light on the challenges of many underrepresented groups in our society. This year’s winners have produced great journalism that honors Ed’s spirit,” said Anderson.
Judges for the 2022 Shaufler Prize:
Momo Chang: Co-director of Oakland Voices, a community journalism training program and platform that is a part of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She is also a freelance writer, focusing on healthcare and immigration and a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune.
Marie Dillion: A two-time Pulitzer finalist and former deputy editorial page editor of the Chicago Tribune. A Cronkite School graduate, she has been inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
Adrianne Flynn: Interim Director, University of Maryland Merrill School of Journalism Capital News Service Annapolis Bureau; former Washington Correspondent, Arizona Republic.
Kristin Gilger: Reynolds Professor in Business Journalism at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; executive director of the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
Nora Lopez: executive editor, San Antonio Express-News and past president, National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Evelyn Larrubia: Investigative editor for technology and business at The Washington Post; former managing editor of investigations at the Markup, a nonprofit newsroom founded in 2018; former executive editor of public radio’s “Marketplace” and a longtime reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
Nikki McClaran: Assistant professor at the Cronkite School studying health communication, entertainment media and social norms.
Toluse Olorunnipa: White House Bureau Chief of The Washington Post, and the co-author of “His Name is George Floyd,” a finalist for the National Book Award. He previously worked at Bloomberg and the Miami Herald, where he reported on politics and policy from Washington and Florida. He won the inaugural Shaufler Prize in 2021.
Jeffrey Timmermans: Donald W. Reynolds Chair Professor in Business Journalism, ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.