An investigation I worked on this past summer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has won second place in the Milwaukee Press Club’s 2008 Excellence in Journalism Awards in the Best Investigative Story or Series category.
The story, Race Gap Found in Pothole Patching, found that after an especially rough winter, there was a correlation between the minority population of an area and how quickly that area’s potholes were repaired.
It was a great project that I’m proud to have worked on. It’s a great example of a computer-assisted reporting story that incorporates great on-the-ground reporting, old-fashioned data analysis, GIS mapping and statistical analysis. I think it was so successful because of great teamwork (with fellow reporters Keegan Kyle and Ben Poston), great editing (thanks Mark Katches!) and because we gave city officials opportunities to explain away our results before we ever went to print. They were unable to do that, even with their own statistician. Everything they brought up gave us another direction to take the investigation, which further strengthened our claims.
Here’s how we did it.
We wrote up a piece for the IRE Journal, too, which goes into more detail.