The Weiss Award for Investigative Journalism was created through the vision and generosity of Larry Weiss, citizen and business leader, to recognize the finest investigative news work in the Philadelphia area. The award is intended to encourage work that generates increased public awareness about under-recognized social problems; malfeasance in local or state government; waste, fraud and abuse in government agencies or business; or other issues related to advancing the public good.
In its first year, the Weiss Award drew more than a dozen compelling submissions, representing some of the finest investigative work produced by local reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, multimedia producers and other media workers.
From these, a panel of judges–including Temple Professor Shenid Bhayroo, New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton, and veteran newswoman and former editor of the Orlando Sentinel Charlotte Hall–chose one Winner and two Special Recognition prizes.
Photos: Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University
Staff – Philadelphia Inquirer – “Assault on Learning”
Awardees: Susan Snyder, Kristen Graham, Dylan Purcell, Jeff Gammage, John Sullivan, David Swanson, Ron Tarver, Sharon Gekoski-Kimmel, Frank Wiese
An immersive, multimedia investigation into violence and unsafe learning conditions in Philadelphia’s public schools, this seven-part series spurred an overhaul of the schools’ incident-reporting process and the hiring of a state-funded safe schools advocate.
Patrick Kerkstra – PlanPhilly/Inquirer – “Deluge of Deadbeats”
Patrick Kerkstra’s investigation into the City’s property-tax delinquency epidemic is a marvel of data research and comparative analysis. Citing the Inquirer/PlanPhilly report–which reveals that Philadelphia has the most tax-delinquent properties of major U.S. cities by a wide margin–members of City Council have introduced legislation modernizing the tax-collection and foreclosure processes in the City.
Jeff Cole, Gary Scurka, and Mark LaValla – “Drinking Postal Workers” – FOX 29
This hidden-camera investigation revealed several uniformed postal workers drinking heavily at a bar while on the clock, and later attempting to drive their USPS trucks back to work–at which point FOX 29 reporter Jeff Cole intervened. The report led to an investigation by the Postal Service Inspector General’s office, which confirmed the station’s findings.