AJC investigation wins national recognition

April 06, 2017
Read the AJC project at doctors.ajc.com

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has won another national award for its investigation of doctors who sexually abuse their patients.

Investigative Reporters and Editors this week honored the “Doctors & Sex Abuse” project as the best investigative work of 2016 by a mid-sized print or online news organization. Judges noted that the Journal-Constitution unveiled system sex abuse of patients by doctors in every state.

“In a project reminiscent of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal, the reporters combined sophisticated research techniques with shoe-leather and public records reporting and found that the medical profession views sexual abuse as an illness to be treated, rather than crime to be reported,” the judges noted.

The Journal-Constitution was a finalist in another category, Innovation in Investigative Journalism.

An investigation by The Indianapolis Star of sexual abuse by a doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won IRE’s Tom Renner Award for criminal justice reporting. The freedom of information award went to the Houston Chronicle for stories revealing that Texas kept tens of thousands of children out of special education classes. Both were finalists in the category of investigative reporting by mid-sized news organizations.

The IRE award is the latest recognition for “Doctors & Sex Abuse,” which ran from July to December. The project also won the Scripps Howard Award for investigative reporting and the Philip Meyer Award, which honors investigative reporting that uses social science research methods. The project was one of six finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.

The investigation was the work of reporters Danny Robbins, Carrie Teegardin, Ariel Hart, Alan Judd and Johnny Edwards; data journalist Jeff Ernsthausen; videographer Ryon Horne; graphic artist Richard Watkins; and project editor Lois Norder.