Five Belleville News-Democrat newsroom staff members on Thursday received recognition in the annual McClatchy President’s Awards.
McClatchy is the parent company of the Belleville News-Democrat. The company on Thursday announced 12 President’s Awards for journalists who uncovered wrongdoing and captured the compelling local stories on multiple platforms.
Reporters Beth Hundsdorfer and George Pawlaczyk, and photographer Zia Nizami, were recognized for their Violation of Trust series that looked at how reported rapes went unprosecuted in southern Illinois.
The series found 70 percent of reports of sex crimes in southern Illinois never reached a courtroom.
“In a disturbing and powerful series full of surprising revelations, they told the human stories behind those numbers, giving voice to the victims that police and prosecutors ignored,” a McClatchy news release said.
The Violation of Trust series also recently won the John Jay award for investigative reporting.
Reporter Mike Fitzgerald and photographer Tim Vizer were recognized along with staff members from McClatchy Washington Bureau, Idaho Statesman, The State in Columbia, South Carolina, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star, Tri-City Herald, McClatchy video team, for the Irradiated series.
The reporting project spanned 10 states and was built on hundreds of thousands of records. The series “delivered a startling, untold story about the nation’s nuclear armament program,” according to the McClatchy release.
The series found that roughly 54,000 nuclear workers tried to get financial help from the federal government after getting sick. However, they never were paid.