Program News

"Rape in the Fields" radio piece wins National Award

A KQED radio story titled, “Farmworkers Face Sexual Harrassment,” won first place for Public Radio News Directors Inc. award in the enterprise/investigative large newsrooms category. The story was reported by J-School alum Sasha Kohka (’04,) and Grace Rubenstein, and was part of the collaboration that produced  “Rape in the Fields,” focusing on the sexual assault of migrant farmworkers in the U.S. The collaboration was lead by the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The “Rape in the Fields” project involved the work of a number of J-School alumni including, Andrés Cediel (’04), Lauren Rosenfeld (’12), Zachary Stauffer (’08), Linsay Rousseau Burnett (’10), J.J. Barrow (’12), Daffodil Altan (’04), Rosa Ramirez (’11), Tupac Saavedra (’07), Alicia Avila (’13), four class of 2014 J-School students: Yousur Alhlou, Steve Fisher, Erica Hellerstein and Anne Hoffman and five UC Berkeley undergraduates: Alyssa Jaffer, Nadeen Jubran, Mariela Nevarez, Claire Perlman and Mariana Sosa Cordero.

“Rape in the Fields” also won the 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize for Journalism.

IRP Documentary Wins Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

“Rape in the Fields,” a yearlong investigation into the widespread sexual assault of American field workers, won the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ top journalism award. In addition to the grand prize, the committee also selected the film for the 2014 Domestic Television Award.

The documentary was a collaboration between the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, The Center for Investigative Reporting, PBS Frontline and Univision. It is the first time a news program has aired on two national networks in two different languages; the film appeared in English on PBS Frontline, and the Spanish version “Violacion de un Sueño” aired on Univision.

The film features the work of nine UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alums: Andres Cediel (’04), Zachary Stauffer (’08), Lauren Rosenfeld (’12), Linsay Rousseau Burnett (’10), J.J. Barrow (’12), Daffodil Altan (’04), Rosa Ramirez (’11), Tupac Saavedra (’07), Alicia Avila (’13); four J-School students: Yousur Alhlou, Steve Fisher, Erica Hellerstein and Anne Hoffman; and five UC Berkeley undergrads: Alyssa Jaffer, Nadeen Jubran, Mariela Nevarez, Claire Perlman and Mariana Sosa Cordero.

Earlier this year, “Rape in the Fields” won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize.

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards celebrate excellence in investigative journalism on human rights issues.

The award ceremony took place at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on May 22.

Year-Long Investigative Reporting Fellowships Announced

UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program at the Graduate School of Journalism is accepting entries for its eighth annual competition for year-long fellowships in investigative reporting. The fellowships are open to all working investigative journalists. Graduates from UC Berkeley’s master’s program in journalism are encouraged to apply.

Fellows will receive an annual salary of $54,336 and be eligible for full UC benefits. Fellows will also be provided with office space, basic expenses and up to $10,000 in funds for approved travel.

This year’s fellowships to the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) are made possible by a core grant from the Sandler Foundation, matching grants from Scott and Jennifer Fearon and Margaret and Will Hearst, along with donations from The Financial Times, Peter Wiley and Valerie Barth.

Applications are due no later than midnight on Monday, May 19th. Up to three fellows will be selected in June. Occasionally, the IRP awards special project support in lieu of a fellowship in-residence. This is a one-year academic appointment expected to begin on August 29, 2014.

Please see the job description for complete fellowship details and application requirements.

IRP Finalist for Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize

The Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism was named as one of six finalists for the Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize for its project “Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño,” in collaboration with The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), PBS FRONTLINE, Univision Documentaries, and KQED.

“Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño” exposed the pervasive sexual assault of immigrant farm working women in the agricultural industry.

The project began as a master’s thesis four years ago at the School of Journalism.

Eight J-School alums—Andres Cediel (’04), Zachary Stauffer(’08), Lauren Rosenfeld (’12), Linsay Rousseau Burnett (’10), J.J. Barrow (’12), Daffodil Altan (’04), Rosa Ramirez (’11), Tupac Saavedra (’07); five J-School students Yousur Alhlou, Alicia Avila, Steve Fisher, Erica Hellerstein, and Anne Hoffman; and five UC Berkeley undergrads: Alyssa Jaffer, Nadeen Jubran, Mariela Nevarez, Claire Perlman and Mariana Sosa Cordero worked on this landmark multilingual project.

The Goldsmith Awards Program is administered by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and “honors investigative reporting that best promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics.”

The other five finalists are The Center for Public Integrity, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Miami New Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Wall Street Journal. The winner was announced on March 5th, 2014: Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Jim Morris and Chris Zubak-Skees of The Center for Public Integrity and Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz of ABC News for their investigative report “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine.”

The duPont Awards Honor "Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño"

The 2014 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards  honored UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program with an award for “Rape in the Fields/Violación de un Sueño”, a cross-platform collaboration produced with PBS “Frontline”, Univision and the Center for Investigative Reporting. This is only the second time that a university-led program has been awarded the honor.

The hour-long documentary revealed that sexual assault and rape of female farm workers is endemic across this country. It was the first joint broadcast of a documentary on two national networks in two languages.

Al Jazeera America names former IRP Fellow Trevor Aaronson to 16-member investigative unit

Al Jazeera America, the new American news channel scheduled to launch in late August, announced that veteran investigative reporter and author Trevor Aaronson will be joining the channel’s 16-person investigative unit. Read the full article.

Al Jazeera Publishes IRP Fellow Emad Mekay’s Investigation of U.S. Democracy Funding in Egypt

The Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley obtained documents that show a US State Department program to promote democracy in the Middle East supported politicians and activists who have incited unrest in Egypt, after the 2011 popular uprising against president Hosni Mubarak.  The funding may have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers’ money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments. Read the full article.

New York Times’ Nod to IRP documentary

The New York Times featured a media story on “Rape In The Fields,” a documentary produced and reported by the Investigative Reporting Program. It wasn’t just the harrowing subject of the IRP’s hour-long documentary –rampant sexual abuse among female farm workers that caught the NYT’s attention but the novel partnership that evolved around the making of the film. The IRP wanted the film to be seen not only by PBS Frontline’s audience but also by the largely Hispanic community of farm workers who are often the victims of sexual abuse and who have suffered in silence for generations. So IRP Director Lowell Bergman approached Univision and –a first in broadcast history—the Spanish-language network agreed to team up with PBS “Frontline”. The English version will air on PBS on June 25th and in Spanish on June 29th as “Violación de un Sueño” on Univision. Read the full article.

Loeb Awards Recognize IRP Investigation

“Inside the Investigation of Leading Republican Money Man Sheldon Adelson” was selected as a finalist for the2013 Gerald Loeb Awards (online category). Published in collaboration with ProPublica and PBS Frontline, the story revealed that Sheldon Adelson—the man who single-handedly changed the contours of the last presidential race—was personally implicated in a widening Justice Department investigation into whether his company had breached U.S. anti-bribery laws. The story provided links to actual documents, including internal emails and credit agreements. It revealed how one of the most powerful men in America flaunted U.S. laws in amassing his fortune in China. Regarded as the most prestigious honor in business journalism, the Gerald Loeb Awards were established in 1957 to encourage reporting on business and finance that would inform and protect the private investor and the general public. The story on Adelson was written by the IRP’s Lowell Bergman and Matt Isaacs, along with ProPublica Editor Stephen Engleberg and ran on both the ProPublica and Frontline websites.

American Lawyers Praise IRP Doc on “The Real CSI”

A PBS “Frontline” documentary co-produced and reported by UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) was selected for an Honorable Mention by the American Bar Association for its 2013 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts. “The Real CSI,” which focused on the faulty forensics of death investigations in America, was a collaboration between the IRP, ProPublica and PBS “Frontline,” and it arose out of the Master’s Thesis of J-school alumni Leah Bartos. The Silver Gavel awards by the 400,000-member American Bar Association recognize “outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system.”  “The Real CSI” was selected under the Television category.