Jeremy Schwartz’s coverage of military affairs and the U.S.-Mexico border is watchdog reporting at its best. He uses the tools of investigative reporting — public records requests, data analysis and thorough reviews of local, state and federal policy — to uncover trends and gaps in oversight that put lives and livelihoods at stake.
He found, for example, that the state agency responsible for inspecting housing for migrant farmworkers had not levied a single enforcement action against operators – even after failed inspections and reports of workers living in shipping containers without ventilation or running water. That investigation led to a state policy change and other legislative commitments.
In another case, Schwartz found that the U.S. Department of Labor was protecting the identities of employers — including government agencies — that violated the rights of reservists to keep their jobs when they were called to serve. That investigation led to congressional pressure and a change of federal policy to disclose the names of employers found in violation of the law.
But what sets Schwarz’s work apart is the deep compassion and attention to detail he brings to his reporting and writing. In a story about deported veterans, for example, Schwarz writes of how one U.S. veteran decorates his bedroom in Mexico with mementos from his service, takes great care in wearing a security guard uniform to a job where he makes 80 cents an hour and fantasizes about living in an American prison, away from the hardships of poverty and drug violence. Schwarz’s work demonstrates the profound impact journalists can make through accountability reporting and deeply powerful storytelling.
Director, Cronkite News Digital Production Bureau and Professor of Practice
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University
Rebecca Blatt is the director of the Cronkite News Digital Production Bureau and a professor of practice at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she will take on a new role as assistant dean in May 2017. In her current role, Blatt guides undergraduate and graduate students in multimedia storytelling, social media, data visualization, audience engagement, cross-platform collaboration and newsroom leadership. Blatt previously directed the Cronkite School’s Public Insight Network Bureau, which was awarded the Associated Press Media Editors College Innovator of the Year Award under her leadership. Prior to her time at ASU, Blatt worked in public radio at NPR, North Carolina Public Radio and WAMU 88.5 FM in Washington, D.C. You can follow her on Twitter@reblatt.
To read excerpts from Jeremy Schwartz’ prize-winning work, please click the links below:
Watch an interview with Jeremy Schwartz and Mark Morrison about these award-winning entries.