Miami-Dade County

‘Innocents Lost’ series wins another investigative journalism award

Audra D.S. Burch
Audra D.S. Burch File Photo

The Miami Herald “Innocents Lost” series, which examines the deaths of nearly 500 children in Florida who had a history with the Department of Children & Families, has added another award to the list.

On Wednesday, the year-long project written by staff reporters Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch, won the 2014 Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism, an annual award honoring investigative reporting.

“This series is powerful,” Bingham Judge Deborah Nelson said in a release. “Powerful statistics, powerful examples, powerful writing. And that’s what it takes to move government to protect its most vulnerable citizens — and move they did with significant changes in law and policy.”

Also recognized for their work on the project: Reporter Mary Ellen Klas, designers Lazaro Gamio, Ana Lense Larrauri and Kara Dapena, videographer and photographer Emily Michot and investigations editor Casey Frank.

The $20,000 Bingham Prize will be presented to the Miami Herald on May 7 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The series, which was published in March 2014, resulted in sweeping changes in child-welfare laws across the state. In addition to the stories that ran in the newspaper, The Herald built a searchable database detailing the children’s stories.

The series has already won several major awards: The Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in March; The University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism's Selden Ring Award in February; the McClatchy President's Award for Public Service in February and the Knight Award for Public Service in September.

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