An American-Statesman investigative project into the deaths of homeless people in Austin received a national journalism award late Saturday.
At its annual conference in Denver, the Online News Association announced that a team of Statesman journalists had won its award for Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling. The other finalist in the medium circulation division was the PBS investigative program “Frontline.”
The Statesman project, “Casualties of the Streets,” featured photography and videography by Ricardo Brazziell, Kelly West and Deborah Cannon and online presentation by Andrew Chavez and was centered on the reporting of Statesman reporter James Barragán.
Barragán teamed with the Statesman’s Spanish-language weekly ¡Ahora Sí! and Austin Spanish-language television station Noticias Univision 62 to examine the ways that Austin’s homeless population is dying. Through a Texas Public Information Act request, the outlets obtained death reports for each of the 77 individuals who died in 2013 and 2014 who were categorized as “transient” by the Travis County medical examiner’s office. The resulting project was published online in both English and Spanish, with additional reporting by Liliana Soto, editing by Jeremy Schwartz, Gabrielle Muñoz and Chloe Gonzales and Spanish translation by Anjanette Gautier, Josefina Casati and Liliana Valenzuela.
This is the second consecutive year that the Statesman has won one of the prestigious Online News Association awards for digital journalism. Last year, the Statesman’s investigative report “Missed Signs, Fatal Consequences” won the University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism.
Also at this year’s awards, the Austin-based Texas Tribune was recognized three times, winning the small-division award for General Excellence in Online Journalism, the small-division award for Topical Reporting and the medium-division award for Explanatory Reporting.