The Society of Professional Journalists announced Monday that msnbc.com's Bill Dedman has won its Sigma Delta Chi prize for online investigative reporting. The award recognizes a 2007 investigation into an apparent defect in firefighter safety equipment and the lack of attention the government has paid to the problem.
Dedman’s reporting, which can be viewed at firefighters.msnbc.com, revealed that 15 firefighters have died since 1998 in fires where a PASS alarm, or Personal Alert Safety System, either didn't sound or was so quiet that rescuers weren't given a chance to find the firefighter quickly.
His work was based on federal investigative reports, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and extensive interviews. The report prompted an investigation by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“I'm pleased that SPJ is honoring msnbc.com and its devotion to investigative reporting,” Dedman said. “How many news organizations have added resources to in-depth reporting in these uncertain times?”
Dedman, 47, also has written at msnbc.com about uninspected bridges, the Pentagon's new hand-held lie detector , Hillary Clinton's hidden thesis at Wellesley College, treatment of detainees at Guantanamo , school shootings , and journalists making campaign contributions .
He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for "The Color of Money," articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on racial discrimination by mortgage lenders in middle-income neighborhoods.
“Bill Dedman is a total pro who has a knack for finding important stories that aren’t being reported elsewhere and telling them clearly and thoroughly,” said projects editor Mike Brunker. “This honor is well deserved, and is especially gratifying because it recognizes msnbc.com’s commitment to original reporting. ”
Msnbc.com’s work has been recognized frequently by fellow journalists since its launch in 1996. In 2005, the site was given the Online News Award for General Excellence by the Online News Association and was named Best Journalism Site by the National Press Club.
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