Coverage of L.A. Archdiocese sex-abuse scandal wins DFMie

Headline: Los Angeles Archdiocese kept sexual abuse in the shadows
Outlet: Los Angeles News Group
Journalist: Los Angeles News Group team
Tags: ,

Team hustle put the Los Angeles News Group out front in coverage of the sex abuse scandal that engulfed the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The coverage won the January DFMie for the cluster.

Executive Editor Michael Anastasi explained in his nomination:

On Wed., Jan. 23., the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – nation’s largest with 4 million Catholics in Southland – released long-awaited files on sexual-abuse of children by priests. There were 4,000 pages of documents released, and they illustrated the stunning depth to which Cardinal Richard Mahony engaged in cover-up, depravity of crimes committed and pain of victims. We made decision to go for a Sunday special report, and result was a 16-story, 4-page package in print and extensive digital package that we did in basically 48 hours. Got good run on local news, and we believe it was instrumental in church deciding to release self-publish 30,000 pages of documents the following week, despite their lawyers’ advice.

Team members were Harrison Sheppard, editor; Carolina Garcia, senior editor; Barbara Jones, lead reporter; additional reporters Tracy Manzer, Dana Bartholomew, Susan Abram; and digital editors Daniel Tedford and Daniel Aitken.

The coverage amazed the judges:

Wow! The Daily News team has got it going! It’s on-deadline special report on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ horrific sex scandals and coverup distilled 4,000 pages of files on criminal priests who molested children, then were shielded by leaders including Cardinal Mahony. While reporters at the LA Times were still reviewing the documents released by court order, the Daily News crew produced a compelling 16-story section in 48 hours, along with a digital package that prompted officials to release even more documents. Nice work.

Another judge:

This is an example of how to use the web to organize a TON of information and make it approachable for the average reader. … This is a solid example of how city/police reporters can very easily use the web to more clearly communicate a complex story. To have the insight to put it together like this amid all of the reporting work is nothing short of impressive.

And another:

Phenomenal reporting in a short period of time. It’s obviously a sickening topic, but clear, short articles are more digestible. Using hyperlinks throughout not only increases credibility, but it also involves the reader, letting them dig into the documents. The overall online presentation was solid.

Other finalists in LANG were team coverage of the Golden Globes, Oscar nominations and Rose Parade.

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