The Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting

Photo of the presentation of the Selden Ring Award at USC Annenberg

Now more than ever, rigorous, ethical and technically skilled journalists are needed to hold those in power accountable and tell stories that matter.

The impact of their work strengthens our democratic society — and demonstrates the value of accountability for governments, non-government organizations and private corporations. 

Since 1989, the Ring Foundation has partnered with the USC Annenberg School of Journalism to present the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. The $50,000 annual award — the largest journalism prize in America — was established with the support of Southern California businessman and philanthropist Selden Ring. It highlights the impact investigative journalists have on local, national and global communities.

Information on Selden Ring

2022 Selden Ring winner

When ProPublica received a trove of tax data from an unidentified source — the largest confidential leak of tax records in U.S. history — the journalists there found unprecedented data that showed how some of the richest people in America take advantage of the tax code to avoid paying even a single dollar in income taxes in some years.

“It really is the key characteristic of our age,” said Jesse Eisinger, a senior editor and reporter at ProPublica. “You cannot understand the politics, economy or culture of the United States without understanding wealth inequality and the tax structure that helped create it.”

For their project “The Secret IRS Files,” the Probulica team has earned the 2022 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.

Previous winners

Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell win 2021 Selden Ring Award

Examining the working conditions on palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, Mason and McDowell’s “Fruits of Labor,” exposed shocking abuses against some of the world’s most vulnerable laborers.

Wendi C. Thomas wins 2020 Selden Ring Award for series on predatory healthcare debt-collection in Memphis

Thomas set up a nonprofit digital newsroom in Memphis called MLK50: Justice Through Journalism which got her started on her series “Profiting from the Poor.”

See all previous winners

Explore all past Selden Ring winners and their award-winning projects.