Asheville—Carolina Public Press on June 24 announced it is among 22 news organizations slated to receive funding from a partnership between Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and the Google News Initiative. It is also one of 19 U.S.-based organizations receiving support. 

The North Carolina nonprofit, independent, investigative newsroom announced that the funding will support an upcoming data-driven investigative reporting project, “Ignoring Evidence,” by Lead Investigative Reporter Kate Martin.

The project is a follow-up to the organization’s 2019 “Seeking Conviction” series. That investigative reporting series, done in collaboration with 10 other North Carolina news organizations, examined how infrequently district attorneys successfully prosecuted sexual assault crimes in North Carolina. Ignoring Evidence will using the analysis of state records to identify areas where district attorneys and police agencies do not pursue charges in most rape cases, despite evidence from rape kits.

“North Carolina is absolutely the right place for this kind of project and our Lead Investigative Reporter Kate Martin is the right person to do it,” said Angie Newsome, founder and executive director of Carolina Public Press. “Three years ago, North Carolina had the largest number of untested rape kits in the nation. Thanks to the efforts of the state crime lab, that backlog has been erased. But our project begs the question: What good is all this effort to test the kits if prosecutors and law enforcement won’t do anything with the evidence?” 

Newsome explained that CPP will request the court case extract file from the Administrative Office of the Courts, which includes information about all cases in the state court system in a five-year period. 

“Kate has been down this road before with her previous investigations,” Newsome noted, “and we are grateful for the generous support offered by the Medill and Google News Initiative partnership to continue and complete this time-consuming work that requires rigorous data cleaning to ensure accuracy.”

The series is expected to be published in late 2022.

Awardees were selected by a panel of eight jurors through three rounds of evaluation. Medill will provide specialized training, expertise and resources to the award recipients. Google played no role in the selection of jurors or individual projects. 

The Cycle One recipients

  • Albany Times Union
  • Black Voice News
  • Carolina Public Press
  • The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer
  • The Daily Herald
  • Eye on Ohio, the Ohio Center for Journalism
  • Investigative Journalism Bureau
  • InvestigateWest
  • Invisible Institute
  • The Local
  • LSU Manship School News ServiceMonquartier
  • Mountain Express
  • MuckRock
  • The Post and Courier
  • The Real News Network
  • The Salt Lake Tribune
  • Underscore
  • Voice of San Diego
  • WABE
  • Wisconsin Watch
  • WyoFile

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