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.
2021 Selden Ring winner
Beginning in 2018, Associated Press investigative reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell relentlessly examined the working conditions on palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. The result is a searing exposé that reveals shocking abuses against some of the world’s most vulnerable laborers — and then connects that mistreatment directly to a byproduct found in roughly half the items for sale in American supermarkets.
“There’s never been a big spotlight placed on the labor issues of this $65-billion industry — and the problems are endemic,” McDowell said. “Companies have been able to ignore them because they’re hard to investigate and not something most journalists will want to invest the time into.”
For their project, “Fruits of Labor,” Mason and McDowell have earned the 2021 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. Join USC Annenberg on February 23, 2021 to present them with the award. RSVP here.
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.”
The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal wins 2019 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting
Emmanuel Martinez and Aaron Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal won for their series “Kept Out” about housing discrimination.