A Center for Public Integrity investigation of safety challenges facing the nation's nuclear laboratories has garnered two first-place designations in the 2018 Associated Press Media Editors Awards for Journalism Excellence and Innovation.
These prizes come on the heels of the project’s garnering of honorable mention honors for the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. The six-part series, “Nuclear Negligence,” examined safety weaknesses at U.S. nuclear weapons sites operated by corporate contractors. The project uncovered unpublicized accidents at the facilities, including some that caused avoidable radiation exposures. The Center’s reporting also discovered that the penalties imposed by the government for these errors were typically small, relative to the tens of millions of dollars the government awards to each of the contractors annually in pure profit.
“Nuclear Negligence was easily one of the most important investigative projects produced by any news organization last year,” said Center for Public Integrity CEO John Dunbar. “We’re grateful for the recognition and hope it raises awareness of the serious issues regarding the security of nuclear materials at the nation’s weapons labs raised in the series.”
Judges in the APME contest called the series “a powerful, scary investigation that painted a frightening portrait of the safety climate in America’s most secretive and sensitive industry.” The judges said the project involved “exhaustive, years-long digging” and made “great” use of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.