The Washington Post has received four National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence awards this year – two of them for Tracy Jan’s coverage of the intersection of race and business.
Tracy won for national investigative reporting for “The Gatekeeper,” her investigation into accusations of sexual harassment by Vincent Cirrincione, a prominent Hollywood manager whose clients included Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson. Three days after the story published, Cirrincione closed his agency. Tracy also won for national business reporting for “The Forgotten Ferguson,” her story about how corporate investments and business development in Ferguson deepened racial disparities four years after Michael Brown was killed. Of the more than $36 million in brick-and-mortar development funds that poured into the city after 2014, only $2.4 million directly benefited the isolated southeast corner hit hardest by the violent protests, according to her analysis of city building-permit data.
Wesley Lowery, Steven Rich, Ted Mellnik and former Post reporter Kimbriell Kelly won the national special project category for Murder With Impunity, the exploration of more than 52,000 homicides in major American cities over the past decade. The project showed where murder is common but arrests are rare, using mapping, interactivity and video, and revealed block by block where police failed to catch killers.
The NABJ honor for investigative coverage in a magazine went to Cheryl Thompson for her look back at the case of the unsolved murders of six black girls in the District in the early 70s, which still haunts retired D.C. police detective Romaine Jenkins. The homicides, known as the “Freeway Phantom Murders,” galvanized Washington and are believed to be the District’s first serial killings. The crimes long ago faded into history, but Jenkins’ obsession lives on.