The Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting
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
Since 1989, the Ring Foundation has partnered with USC Annenberg as the home of the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. The $50,000 annual award, established with the support of Southern California businessman and philanthropist Selden Ring, has highlighted the impact investigative journalists have on local, national and global communities. The award underscores the importance of investigative journalism as a cornerstone of democratic society — and the value of accountability for governments, non-government organizations and private corporations.
“Now more than ever, we need intellectually rigorous, highly ethical, technically skilled journalists who will hold those in power accountable and tell stories that matter. The Ring Foundation is pleased to further its support for the importance of investigative journalism and serving a vital and fundamental commitment to our values in this country and the world at large,” said Cindy Miscikowski, chair of The Ring Foundation.
The Selden Ring Award underscores the critical importance of investigative journalism in today’s society. The $50,000 prize recognizes published investigative reporting that has brought results. Full-time or freelance reporters working for a general circulation, United States newspaper, wire service, magazine or online publication are eligible for the Selden Ring Award. Editors, publishers, educators, journalism organizations and others may make nominations.
The award will be presented at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in the spring semester, and the winner will be expected to visit the school and participate in classes and a forum on investigative journalism. The winner will be asked to discuss the reporting, the challenges and obstacles in the investigation, how they were overcome and the results of the investigation.
All entries become the property of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Winners and finalists grant the school the right to republish the articles and related materials to promote investigative journalism.
According to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the recipient may:
- Receive all of the award proceeds
- Designate one or more charitable institutions appropriately qualified by the Internal Revenue Service to receive the proceeds
- A combination of the above.
- Any funds retained by the individual recipient will be subject to federal income tax.
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.
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.”