Journalism Institute honors The Marshall Project with the Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2021 — The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system, will receive the National Press Club Journalism Institute’s 2021 Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism.

Through award-winning journalism, The Marshall Project has revealed fundamental flaws within the criminal justice system and engages millions of people whose lives have been ensnared in it. Recent accolades for its work include the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in the National Reporting category for “Mauled: When Police Dogs Are Weapons,” and the 2021 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and a Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice for coverage on the Mississippi prison system.

The Marshall Project partners with national and local media outlets to reach diverse audiences and produces deeply researched narratives with resource-strapped newsrooms. Its work informs criminal justice experts, policymakers, elected officials, and other journalists. 

“The Marshall Project’s ability to humanize the issue of criminal justice reform is unmatched, as is its commitment to reporting on prisons, policing, mental health, and racial and economic inequities,” said Angela Greiling Keane, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute and managing editor, states at POLITICO. “While we’re recognizing The Marshall Project for its recent work, it has been producing impactful journalism since its founding in 2015, setting the standard for covering criminal justice.”

Each year, the Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism recognizes work that best reflects the Sheehans’ extraordinary commitment to the principle that a vibrant democracy depends on an informed citizenry and a free press. The award promotes the practice of investigative journalism exemplifying compassion, courage, and integrity.

“All of us at The Marshall Project are honored and delighted to receive this award named for the Sheehans, models of great investigative journalism,” said Susan Chira, editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project. “In this year of pandemic and racial reckoning, our entire team pulled together to highlight abuses in the criminal justice system. We are grateful for this recognition of our work.”

The Institute will confer the 2021 Sheehan Award during the virtual portion of its annual Fourth Estate Award Gala on Oct. 20. This virtual celebration also will recognize the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award honorees: Haze Fan, a Chinese citizen who has been detained in Beijing while working for Bloomberg, and Danny Fenster, the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar who has been jailed in Myanmar since May 24. 

Following the virtual event, an in-person gala will honor NBC News’ Lester Holt with the National Press Club’s signature Fourth Estate Award. 

The event is a fundraiser for the Journalism Institute, the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club. Financial support for the Sheehan Award is provided by a generous endowment from long-time friends of the Sheehans who wish to remain anonymous. Neil Sheehan is the author of “A Bright Shining Lie,” which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1989. Susan Sheehan is the author of eight works of nonfiction. In 1983, she received a Pulitzer Prize for “Is There No Place on Earth For Me?” 

The Sheehan Award was given in 2020 to Ed Yong, the staff writer at The Atlantic who has shaped our collective understanding of the coronavirus and its impact; in 2019 to Julie K. Brown, the Miami Herald journalist who gave voice to Jeffrey Epstein’s long-ignored victims and prompted a legal re-examination of Epstein’s predatory behavior and the culture that enabled it; and in 2018 to New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for their reporting on Harvey Weinstein, which elevated the #MeToo movement.

For information on Fourth Estate sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please click here or contact Julie Moos, Executive Director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute at [email protected].

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement. The National Press Club, the world’s leading professional organization for journalists, represents more than 3,000 reporters, editors and professional communicators worldwide. 

Contact: Julie Moos, executive director, [email protected]

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