The Sidney Hillman Foundation announces today the winners of the 72nd annual Hillman Prizes for journalism, recognizing a USA TODAY investigation into reprisals against police whistleblowers, ProPublica’s series on how billionaires avoid paying taxes and Ari Berman’s agenda-setting reporting on voting rights. ABC15 Arizona wins a Hillman Prize for reporting that showed the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office fabricating evidence and lying to a grand jury to charge protesters as a wholly fictional criminal street gang for their peaceful protests after George Floyd’s murder.
The jury selected two books this year: Eyal Press for his book about our society’s most ethically troubling jobs that the least advantaged perform on our behalf, and Clint Smith for his book about visiting historical sites to investigate how slavery and the Civil War are memorialized and taught.
This year’s prizes were judged by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, the New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie, Reuters’ Alix Freedman, the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg, the American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel.
The 2022 winners of the Hillman Prizes are:
- Book – Eyal Press: “Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America,” Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Book – Clint Smith: “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America,” Little, Brown and Company Broadcast
- Broadcast – ABC15 Arizona, Dave Biscobing: “Politically Charged”
- Newspaper – USA TODAY, Gina Barton, Daphne Duret, Brett Murphy: “Behind the Blue Wall”
- Magazine – Mother Jones, Ari Berman, reporting on voting rights
- Web – ProPublica, ProPublica staff: “The Secret IRS Files”
Reporting by this year’s prize winners has had significant positive impact, including:
- ABC15’s reporting resulted in dismissals of felony protest cases and an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the Phoenix Police Department.
- Ari Berman’s reporting resulted in Illinois ethics investigations against two major organizations seeking to restrict access to the ballot.
- USA Today’s police whistleblower series resulted in an Attorney General’s investigation of a police department, the dismissal of a police chief, renewed legal interest in a suspicious death in custody, and the abrupt reversal of a whistleblower’s suspension.
This year’s honorees follow in the trailblazing tradition of past Hillman Prize winners ranging from Murray Kempton in 1950 for his articles on labor in the south and Edward R. Murrow in 1954 for his critical reports on civil liberties and Joseph McCarthy at the height of the Red Scare; to David Fahrenthold, in 2017, for exposing Donald Trump’s sexual harassment and mismanagement of his foundation, and Julie K. Brown in 2019 for reporting on the sex crimes and sweetheart deals of Jeffrey Epstein.
The Hillman Prizes are open to journalists and subjects globally for any published reporting widely accessible to a U.S. audience. Winners are awarded a $5,000 prize and a certificate designed by New Yorker cartoonist Edward Sorel.
The foundation also announces today that Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, is the recipient of the 2022 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History. One of this country’s most distinguished historians, Foner’s deep and extensive scholarship has reshaped the way Americans understand the history of their country, especially the Civil War and its aftermath. Throughout his career he has been concerned with how political, economic, and social struggles have shaped and been shaped by the lives and activity of ordinary working people. The Sidney Hillman Foundation grants this lifetime achievement award to a labor historian who has made a significant contribution to the field, researching and telling the stories of working peoples’ lives.
In 2011, the Sidney Hillman Foundation inaugurated the Canadian Hillman Prize. This year, Nicholas Hune-Brown won for the “The Shadowy Business of International Education,” published in The Walrus, which lays bare the exploitation of international students in Canada.
“Investigative journalism requires tireless dedication to uncovering hard truths and the courage to hold those in power accountable,” said Alexandra Lescaze, the foundation’s Executive Director. “This year’s winners epitomize Hillman’s ideals and the critical role investigative reporting has in safeguarding our society and strengthening our democracy.”
“The Hillman Prizes for journalism honor the legacy of Sidney Hillman, an immigrant who dedicated his life to a “better America.” Hillman, the founder and president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and a founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), believed that a free press was essential to a fair and equal society. The Sidney Hillman Foundation has sought to carry on his legacy by honoring journalists who illuminate the great issues of our times — from the search for a basis for lasting peace to the need for better housing, medical care and employment for all people to the promotion of civil liberties, democracy and the battle against discrimination of all kinds.
The Sidney Hillman Foundation will host an in-person event with limited capacity and Covid-19 precautions on May 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. After two years of virtual events, we are excited to be back together in person to honor such important journalism and stand up for unions and working people,” said Bruce Raynor, president of the foundation.