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

photo collage for Harlan Crow and Justice Thomas

2024 Selden Ring Winner

When ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott began to investigate questions about influence and ethics surrounding the nation’s highest court he was shocked by the scale of his findings. 

Elliott, together with ProPublica’s Joshua KaplanBrett MurphyAlex Mierjeski and Kirsten Berg, scoured leads from fishing licenses, private yacht schedules, photos posted on social media and university archives and interviewed hundreds of people — ultimately exposing the most serious ethical scandal in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court revolving around the court’s current longest-serving justice.

For their project “Friends of the Court,” the ProPublica team has earned the 2024 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.

Previous winners

Reuters team wins 2023 Selden Ring Award for ‘Nightmare in Nigeria’

Reuters reporters Paul Carsten, David Lewis, Reade Levinson and Libby George painstakingly assembled evidence of Nigeria’s years-long, secret mass abortion program, forcing the termination of thousands of pregnancies among women and girls.

ProPublica team wins 2022 Selden Ring Award for series exposing how the wealthiest Americans avoid paying income tax

ProPublica journalists 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.

See all previous winners

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