– From an IRE News Release

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Associate Professor of Investigative Journalism Deborah Nelson and a team of reporters from Reuters have won a third place Philip Meyer Award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors. The award is given to reporters using the best social science research methods. Nelson – along with Reuter’s reporters Ryan McNeill and Duff Wilson – won for their series “Water’s Edge, The Crisis of Rising Sea Levels,” that “exposed that government at all levels remains unable or unwilling to address the problem of rising sea levels while continuing to incentivize growth in those areas most at risk.”

First place was awarded to “The Medicare Advantage Money Grab,” by Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin, and Chris Zubak-Skees of The Center for Public Integrity. The project revealed nearly $70 billion in “improper” Medicare payments to health plans from 2008 through 2013. The investigation exposed how federal officials missed multiple opportunities to corral overcharges and other billing errors.

Second place was awarded to ProPublica’s “Temporary Work, Lasting Harm” by Michael Grabell, Olga Pierce, Jeff Larson and Lena Groeger. This series combined street-level reporting with sophisticated  social-scientific analysis to expose a disturbing, little-noticed trend taking hold in industrial America — major companies have turned to temporary workers to fill dangerous jobs in factories, warehouses and processing plants, and they face a much greater risk of injury than other workers.

The Meyer Award recognizes the best uses of social science methods in journalism. The awards will be presented on March 7 in Atlanta at the 2015 ComputerAssisted Reporting Conference. The first-place winner will receive $500; second and third-place winners will receive $300 and $200, respectively. The award is administered by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (a joint program of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Missouri School of Journalism) and supported by the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

About the Philip Meyer Award

The Meyer Award honors Philip Meyer, professor emeritus and former Knight Chair in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Meyer is the author of “Precision Journalism,” the seminal 1973 book that encouraged journalists to incorporate social science methods in the pursuit of better journalism. As a reporter, he also pioneered the use of survey research for Knight-Ridder newspapers while exploring the causes of race riots in the 1960s.

For more information contact:

Mark Horvit, IRE Executive Director, 573-882-1984 or mhorvit@ire.org
Brant Houston, Professor and Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 217-244-8861 or houstonb@illinois.edu