Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:09 PM
The Tom Renner Award from Investigative Reporters & Editors
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Investigations that exposed major abuses and wrongdoing by law
enforcement agencies and the failure of government to protect society’s most vulnerable members
are among the work honored in the 2011 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.
Many winning projects involved analysis of massive troves of documents and huge collections of
data. Others required fierce fights for public documents and demonstrated great courage by
journalists working under dangerous conditions.
“Despite devastating cutbacks across the news business, investigative reporting is alive and well,
and really making a difference in our society,” said Lea Thompson, contest committee cochairwoman. “The judges not only saw superb digging, but also perseverance in the face of what
often seemed insurmountable odds by large and small news organizations working in print, TV,
radio and online.”
This year’s winners were selected from among more than 430 entries.
TOM RENNER AWARD
“Death in the Desert,” CNN. Frederik Pleitgen, Mohamed Fahmy, Sheri England, Tim Lister, Ian Lee, Simon
Payne and Earl Nurse.
CNN’s team faced great personal risk in crossing the dangerous badlands of Egypt’s Sinai
Peninsula to expose a network of human trafficking and organ sales in “Death in the Desert.” The team managed to
persuade the hostile, clannish Bedouin tribesmen of the region to talk about their organized kidnapping for ransom
and trafficking in African immigrants trying to cross from Egypt into Israel. The team also procured photographic
evidence, reviewed by coroners, that suggested some immigrants had their organs harvested before being buried in
the desert. The final scene of nameless immigrants buried in unmarked graves almost within sight of their final
destination in Israel provided an emotional finish to a dramatic, difficult and important story