Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
April 10, 2017, 3:57 p.m.
Reporting & Production

David Fahrenthold goes from tweeting pictures of his notepad to winning a Pulitzer Prize

Plus other interesting digitally and innovation oriented winners in the 2017 prizes.

The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, who used pen and paper to get his Trump reporting on Twitter noticed, has been noticed: @Fahrenthold won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on Monday, for his “persistent reporting that created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities.” We wrote one of the first stories about his work last fall, in particular learning about why he chose a social-media-heavy approach to publicizing his reporting: “I think I knew there was going to be a lot of futility to the process. I was looking for a way to make the futility look interesting and give people something to follow.”

ProPublica was the only digital-only outlet this year to win (share) a Pulitzer: It helped investigate police abuse of eviction rules, in partnership with the New York Daily News. (Eviction was a winning topic this year: Mathew Desmond’s Evicted got best general nonfiction.) Coincidentally, Sarah Ryley, the Daily News reporter, started at the independent gun violence site The Trace on Monday as an investigative reporter. This was ProPublica’s fourth Pulitzer, and its investigation into algorithms was a finalist for Explanatory Reporting.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, with McClatchy and the Miami Herald, won the Explanatory Reporting award for its Panama Papers. We wrote here about how more than 400 reporters collaborated on the Panama Papers through a high-tech process. The group, at first, did not include The New York Times or The Washington Post, perhaps due to initial discomfort with the ICIJ’s “radical sharing” concept.

BuzzFeed News was a finalist for the first time, for Chris Hamby’s Global Super Court reporting.

POSTED     April 10, 2017, 3:57 p.m.
SEE MORE ON Reporting & Production
Show comments  
Show tags
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Holding algorithms (and the people behind them) accountable is still tricky, but doable
“We were able to demystify this black box, this algorithm that had very scary connotations, and break it down into what ended up being a very simple linear model.”
Fill in the blanks: What’s still missing from the study of fake news? (A whole lot.)
A big new report from the Hewlett Foundation pulls together existing research on social media, political polarization, and disinformation to show where we still need to know more.
Google announces a $300M ‘Google News Initiative’ (though this isn’t about giving out grants directly to newsrooms, like it does in Europe)
Also: an easier subscription flow, $10 million for media literacy in U.S. high schools, fact-checking efforts in search around health issues, and more.