Journalism, CS students contribute to Murrow-winning investigations

Boston University students provided news reporting and data analysis for two radio investigations awarded regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, a top honor for broadcast journalists.

Parole in MA: Free to Go But Not To Leave, a story by COM Clinical Instructor of Investigative Reporting and GBH Senior Investigative Reporter Jenifer McKim, won for the Investigative Reporting category. The story uncovered a loophole that prevents paroled prisoners from leaving Massachusetts prisons if they are suffering from certain types of mental illnesses.

The investigation started in the COM investigative journalism clinic that McKim teaches, and students played an important role in the original reporting.

The Color of Public Money” from GBH News won the Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award, a new category. The series uncovered vast racial inequities in Massachusetts’ spending on public contracts and inspired a groundswell of support from Black business leaders and spurred change at the highest level of the Massachusetts government, including a decision by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to create a new state agency with authority to enforce more equitable state spending with minority-owned businesses.

The series is an ongoing project of the GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting that has included contributions from across the GBH newsroom, led by reporters Chris Burrell, Phillip Martin and Kirk Carapezza and editor Paul Singer. The Center worked with COM staff and data science students at BU Spark! to analyze state contracts, leading to many of the series’ first key findings.

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