Announcing the Winner of the 2022 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School is pleased to present the 2022 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting to:

“FEMA’s Disasters”

by Hannah Dreier and Andrew Ba Tran

of The Washington Post.


About the winning investigative reporting project, and its impact:

Washington Post reporters spent 2021 traversing the corners of the country most ravaged by natural disasters to find out if the government really has people’s backs in the long-term. The reporters conducted 300 interviews and compiled several databases, filed dozens of records requests, and analyzed thousands of pages of individual Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) case records and other documents. What they found was that FEMA was regularly not providing help when it was needed for survivors of disasters. They chronicled the agency denying help to Black families living on land passed down since a generation after slavery, abandoning poor families without assistance for transitioning out of FEMA trailer parks as they shut down, and denying aid to 90% of disaster survivors, often for minor errors in their paperwork. This reporting led to major process changes at FEMA to directly address these issues, and bipartisan legislation currently working its way through Congress.

In awarding the 2022 Goldsmith Prize to the team behind “FEMA’s Disasters,” the judging committee celebrated their intensive database work and dogged reporting in the field that laid bare the scope of FEMA’s failures.

“The Post exposed FEMA’s snarls and punitive policies with such power that congress and the administration moved immediately to make long-overdue changes,” said 2022 Goldsmith Judge and 2020 Goldsmith Career Award Winner Kathleen Carroll. “Now, because of Hannah and Andrew’s reporting, more people will get the help they need from FEMA – and that is the kind of impactful journalism that is at the burning heart of the Goldsmith Awards.”

The 2022 Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize judges were: Kathleen Carroll, Beth Daley, Betsy Fischer Martin, Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak, Mike Greenfield, Kathy Kiely, Wendy Ruderman, Todd Wallack, and Setti Warren. Nancy Gibbs, Director of the Shorenstein Center, chaired the meeting. Judges recused themselves from voting on entries from their employers.

The Goldsmith Awards ceremony tonight also honored Elizabeth Becker, Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Scott J. LaCombe with Goldsmith Book Prizes and Michele Norris with the Goldsmith Career Award.

Congratulations to all of the winners, as well as this year’s five Investigative Reporting Prize finalists. You can read more about the 2022 Goldsmith winners and finalists and watch a recording of the ceremony here.