The entries in this year’s Star Investigative Report of the Year showed serious efforts by local journalists and their newspapers to uncover government failures and misdeeds.The clear winner was the Houston Chronicle’s Anita Hassan and her series “Serial Indifference.”
Hassan’s stories about the rapes of homeless women and the failures of the criminal justice system to bring the rapist to justice are outstanding pieces of reporting and writing. The depth of her research takes the readers behind the headline — that a rape victim was jailed to compel her testimony — to explain how the repeated failings of the criminal justice system led to a civil rights outrage.The series also brings home the cost to victims when police departments allow rape kits to go untested, a problem across the nation.
Hassan’s research was exhaustive and her interviews with the victims were compelling. The series was well organized and the writing clear and concise.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mike Gallagher graduated from the University of New Mexico in December 1976 and was hired the same day at the Albuquerque Journal where he had worked part-time and as an intern since 1975.
Except for a three-year stint in television at channel 13, Gallagher has worked at the Journal in various capacities. Since 1986 he has been one of the paper’s investigative reporters covering a wide range of stories.
In 1986 he did a series of stories on the state’s prison system and documented the rise of two of the main prison gangs. He also wrote some of the earliest stories on the rise of the Mexican drug cartels and has continued to write about the cartels with a series of stories earlier this year on the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels which have an active presence in Albuquerque and New Mexico.
He was also assigned to cover the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City; political corruption under both Governors Bill Richardson and Gary Johnson; corruption in state highway contracting; patient abuse at nursing homes; jail overcrowding; and a wide range of other stories.
To read the prize-winning investigative report from the Houston Chronicle, click on the links below: