Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, PRX, The Associated Press and PBS NewsHour have won the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Kept Out, a multiplatform investigation that exposed a pattern of troubling home mortgage denials to African Americans and Latinos effectively barring the door to the American dream of homeownership.
The duPonts annually honor about a dozen outlets for excellence in broadcast and digital journalism in the public service. Reveal’s Kept Out investigation was among 16 to receive the award this year, alongside reporting from 60 Minutes, CNN, The Washington Post and New York’s WNYC radio. The PBS documentary series FRONTLINE was honored with a rare “gold baton” for its longstanding commitment to original documentary programming, as well as its innovative, cutting-edge content.
Kept Out was based on a yearlong analysis of 31 million mortgage records. It found that in 61 cities across America people of color were more likely to be turned down for a loan, even when they made the same amount of money, tried to take out the same size loan, and wanted to buy in the same neighborhood as their white counterparts.
In its news release, Columbia lauded Reveal for producing a “painstakingly researched exposé on modern day ‘redlining,’ ” which provided “a meticulous, multiplatform indictment of today’s banking system.”
“This investigation showed that 50 years after the Fair Housing Act, people of color still face incredible barriers to becoming homeowners,” said Kevin Sullivan, interim editor in chief of Reveal. “In a country where homeownership is one of the primary means to build wealth, this lack of access to loans is keeping people from climbing up the economic ladder.”
Kept Out aired in February as an hourlong documentary on Reveal’s radio program and podcast and as a two-part series on PBS NewsHour. It was reported by Aaron Glantz and Emmanuel Martinez with lead producers Katharine Mieszkowski and Rachel de Leon. The Associated Press partnered on the data analysis and distributed a series of print stories to its members, along with customized local data about lending disparities in each market. More than 25 newspapers, including The Detroit News, Tulsa World and Virginian-Pilot, ran the story on the front page.
“This is the exact kind of project The Associated Press loves to partner on – something technically challenging and unique that helps reporters delve into important social and economic issues at a local level,” said Meghan Hoyer, data editor at The Associated Press.
“Sharing this intensely local data with our members, and guiding them to stories that were both revealing and personal to their communities is at the heart of what we do,” Hoyer said. “It’s hugely important to our members, who may lack the technical skill to do a complex analysis on millions of records, or who may just appreciate us using data to look at an issue from a different angle.”
Reveal’s radio documentary and the PBS NewsHour series focused on Philadelphia, one of the largest cities in America where Reveal found the disparity. Less than a week after the program aired, Pennsylvania’s attorney general and state treasurer announced they were launching investigations. The Philadelphia City Council held hearings, passed a $100 million affordable housing measure to provide down payment assistance to underserved communities, and launched a public-private partnership designed to get banks to give a second look to mortgage applications that were denied.
“Reveal’s report made me sick to my stomach. I’m frankly disgusted by it,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “It is not only wrong in terms of that individual who is being denied a mortgage … (but) it holds the city back. It holds neighborhoods back. It holds blocks back. It holds people back from achieving what they are capable of achieving.” Since then, attorneys general in five other states and the District of Columbia have launched their own investigations.
Sara Just, PBS NewsHour executive producer and WETA senior vice president, said: “PBS NewsHour is proud to collaborate with Reveal and The Associated Press on this important reporting and help shine a light on injustices like unfair housing and loan practices. Nonprofit journalism is dedicated to making our communities stronger and more informed. Often that can only be done by the difficult work of investigative journalism, the long hours of the team and the courage of the people who share their stories with us. We are grateful to the duPont-Columbia judges’ recognition of this work.”
This is the second year in a row that Reveal has won the duPont-Columbia University Awards, one of broadcast journalism’s highest accolades. Last year, Reveal and Coda Story were recognized for “Russia’s New Scapegoats,” an investigation into anti-gay propaganda under Russian President Vladimir Putin. This year’s winners will be honored Jan. 22 at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library.
Reveal, heard on more than 470 public radio stations weekly and as a podcast, is produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. Founded in 1977, CIR is the nation’s first nonprofit investigative newsroom.
About PBS NewsHour
PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly owned nonprofit subsidiary of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with WNET in New York. Major funding for PBS NewsHour is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Major corporate funding is provided by BNSF, Consumer Cellular and Raymond James, with additional support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, National Science Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Skoll Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at www.pbs.org/newshour. On social media, visit PBS NewsHour on Facebook or follow @NewsHour on Twitter.
About The Associated Press
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP. On the web: www.ap.org.
PRX is shaping the future of media content, talent and technology. PRX creates, distributes and connects audio producers with their most engaged, supportive audiences across broadcast, digital and mobile platforms, reaching millions of weekly listeners worldwide. A fierce champion of new voices, innovative technology and new business models, PRX advocates for the entrepreneurial producer. For over a dozen years, PRX has operated public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of shows, including “This American Life,” “The Moth Radio Hour” and “Reveal.”
For further information, contact:
Hannah Young, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
Nick Massella, PBS NewsHour
Lauren Easton, The Associated Press