‘This American Life’ episode on school segregation wins Polk Award

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Journalists reporting for This American Life and nonprofit media outlets ProPublica and The Marshall Project received George Polk Awards in Journalism, announced Sunday by Long Island University.

The award for radio reporting, to investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, recognized TAL‘s July 2015 episode “The Problem We All Live With.” Her reporting focused on the resegregation of public schools in the U.S., and in particular at the public school district attended by Michael Brown, the African-American man whose death in a 2014 police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to a press release, in the episode, “[Hannah-Jones] came away with a fascinating and ultimately appalling narrative that reinforces the importance of school integration for the success of minority students and demonstrates how resistance to it in largely white communities drives officials to ensure that schools remain divided along racial lines.” Hannah-Jones, who also writes for the New York Times Magazine,  studied the resegregation of American schools for 18 months with ProPublica.

And Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project and T. Christian Miller of ProPublica shared an award for justice reporting for their 12,000-word piece “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.”

Published in December, the article examined problems that arise when police don’t take rape victims seriously.

According to the press release, before getting permission from their respective organizations to co-author the story, “Miller was pursuing a story on how police failure to communicate across jurisdictions prolonged the rampage of a serial rapist in Colorado when he learned the man had been tied to the rape of an 18-year-old girl in a Seattle suburb. He then discovered that Armstrong was chasing a story about how skeptical police there tried to convince the victim of that crime that she had only dreamt of the attack — and when she persisted in seeking redress charged her for falsely reporting it.”

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