Sidney Hillman Foundation Names Winners of 2019 Prizes for journalism in service of the common good

Reuters, NBC News and MSNBC, ProPublica Receive Honors; Adam Serwer to receive Opinion & Analysis Prize 

NEW YORK – The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced Tuesday winners of the 69th annual Hillman Prizes, recognizing a Reuters exposé of slum-like living conditions on U.S military bases, the Miami Herald’s investigation into Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s sweetheart deal with serial sex abuser, Jeffrey Epstein, and NBC News and MSNBC’s reporting on the Trump Administration’s family separation policy, among other standout reporting in service of the common good. 

Hannah Dreier of ProPublica won a Hillman Prize for reporting that showed how the government’s bungled crackdown on MS-13 has torn apart the lives of Latino immigrants. The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer, who has emerged as a defining voice of the Trump era, won for his essays on racism and Trump’s political movement, and Anna Clark won for her book on the Flint water crisis.

This year’s prizes were judged by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, the New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb, Reuters’ Alix Freedman, the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg, the American Prospect’sHarold Meyerson and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel.

The 2019 winners of the Hillman Prizes are:

  • Newspaper – Miami Herald, Julie K. Brown and Emily Michot: Perversion of Justice
  • Magazine – ProPublica with New York magazine, Newsday, This American Life, New York Times Magazine, Hannah Dreier: Trapped in Gangland
  • Web – Reuters, Joshua Schneyer, Michael Pell, Andrea Januta, Deborah Nelson: Ambushed at Home
  • Broadcast – NBC News and MSNBC, Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley: Torn Apart: Crisis at the Border
  • Opinion & Analysis – Adam Serwer, The Atlantic
  • Book – Anna Clark: “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy,” Metropolitan Books

Reporting by this year’s prize winners has had significant positive impact, including:

  • Reversal of the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” family separation policy;
  • Three federal investigations, new legislation, widespread repairs, and a $386 million emergency program to inspect military housing for hazards; and
  • The exposure of pervasive bias and negligence by Long Island police, leading to federal and local investigations and reforms.

This year’s honorees follow in the trailblazing tradition of past winners ranging from Murray Kempton in 1950 for his articles on labor in the south and Edward R. Murrow in 1954 for his critical reports on civil liberties and Joseph McCarthy at the height of the Red Scare; to 2017 newspaper winner, David Fahrenthold, for exposing Donald Trump’s sexual harassment and mismanagement of his foundation.

The Hillman Prizes are open to journalists and subjects globally for any work widely accessible to a U.S. audience. Winners will be awarded a $5,000 prize at the Hillman Foundation’s annual ceremony in New York City on May 7.  

“In a time when this country’s highest powers have taken it as their business to demean the work of journalists, it is particularly significant for us to honor those who have taken up the tools of journalism to challenge corrupt power wherever it may reside,” said Hillman judge Ta-Nehisi Coates.

In 2011, the Sidney Hillman Foundation inaugurated the Canadian Hillman Prize. This year’s winners, Harvey Cashore, Bob McKeown and Kimberly Ivany of CBC’s The Fifth Estate, won for their sweeping investigation into the research and regulatory failures that have put millions of children at risk on their way to and from school each day. Their reporting exposed fraudulent science behind Transport Canada’s seminal seatbelt study and led the Transport Minister to form a task force with the provinces to look at implementing seatbelts on school buses across the country.

The Hillman Foundation announced Monday that CUNY professor and historian, Joshua B. Freeman, is the recipient of its 2019 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History. Freeman has written extensively about the history of labor, industry, modern America, and New York City. The Hillman Foundation established the award in 2005 to honor a labor historian who has made significant contribution to the field, researching and telling the stories of working peoples’ lives.

Since 1950, the Hillman’s Prizes for Journalism honor the legacy of Sidney Hillman, an immigrant who dedicated his life to a “better America.” Hillman believed that a free press was essential to a fair and equal society. The Sidney Hillman Foundation has sought to carry on his legacy by honoring journalists who illuminate the great issues of our times—from the search for a basis for lasting peace, to the need for better housing, medical care, and employment security for all people, to the promotion of civil liberties and the battle against discrimination based on race, nationality, or religion.

For more information, including to RSVP to the event, please contact Alexandra Lescaze at 646-448-6413 or