Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Associate Director Trevor Aaronson has won the Molly National Journalism Prize and the international Data Journalism Award for “The Informants,” an investigation of the FBI’s counterterrorism tactics.
Aaronson wrote “The Informants,” which was published in the September/October 2011 issue of Mother Jones, as an investigative reporting fellow at the University of California-Berkeley. The story documented how the FBI uses informants in U.S. Muslim communities nationwide to initiate terrorism sting operations.
Presented by The Texas Observer and the Texas Democracy Foundation, the Molly Prize recognizes journalism on civil liberties and social justice in the spirit of the late Molly Ivins. Aaronson’s story competed against finalists from The New Yorker, Harper’s and New York Magazine.
Given by the Global Editors Network and supported by Google, the international Data Journalism Awards recognize excellence in data journalism. Aaronson’s reporting relied heavily on a database he created of more than 500 terrorism prosecutions. Mother Jones staff members refined the data and made the database searchable, as well as created accompanying data visualizations. The award was presented in Paris at the Global Editors Network conference. Aaronson’s project competed against finalists from around the world, including The Guardian, Center for Public Integrity and Financial Times. “This story is, by far, the best investigative piece out of the nine proposals selected,” the jury commented.