Breathless and Burdened wins business investigative reporting honor

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A Center for Public Integrity series exploring how sick and dying coal miners encounter steep hurdles in winning health benefits claims has won a top investigative reporting prize from a business editors’ group.

Center reporter Chris Hamby was honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for Breathless and Burdened, a 3-part series disclosing how the coal industry, backed by prominent lawyers and doctors, repeatedly beats back miners’ claims for modest benefits.

The series, which has helped trigger a series of reforms, including new measures announced this week by the U.S. Department of Labor, won the Digital Investigative reporting prize. Part of the series was produced in partnership with the ABC News investigative unit.

“Resourceful, hard-nosed reporting that undergirded this project, as well as by the clarity and power of the writing,” judges wrote of Hamby’s work. “Combined reportorial mastery of technical subjects with concrete, precise, and rich humanity. Outrageous and compelling.”

Breathless and Burdened was among the winners and finalists announced by SABEW.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center, was recognized as a finalist for international investigative reporting for Secrecy for Sale. Judges described the ICIJ project as “stunning in its sweep.”