2023 Investigative & Public Service (Large Newsroom) Winners

Nicole Noren, T.J. Quinn, William Weinbaum, Rayna Banks, Chris Buckle, Craig T. Lazarus, Cathy Honeywell, Mike Drago & Laura Purtell, ESPN

About the Winners:

LISTEN is an investigative documentary and multimedia digital, text and audio presentation from ESPN exploring Lauren McCluskey’s life, murder, and her parents’ quest for answers. Journalists examine the steps that could have prevented her death by obtaining and using hours of material never seen or heard by the public – including surveillance video, 911 calls and police interview and dispatch recordings. 

Allegations of police misconduct roiled the state and led to legislative change. The McCluskey family settled a lawsuit for $13.5 million, but revelations of individual and institutional failure continued, and ESPN actively reported and filmed LISTEN the entire time.

Award-winning ESPN journalists T.J. Quinn and Nicole Noren, who reported the story for four years, give a window into their investigation and ongoing battles to obtain records from the University of Utah. The 90-minute documentary features numerous interviewees who had never spoken publicly about the case, including Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, former campus police officer Miguel Deras and parole agent Megan Thomson.

Comments From the Judges:

“ESPN deserves praise for this heartbreaking, in-depth investigation into the murder of Lauren McCluskey. The years of reporting were well worth the effort. The storytelling drew me in from start to finish. This story used an extensive analysis of documents that were collected over several years. This story hits all the key elements of classic, high-impact accountability journalism.”

“Gripping, tragic and enraging. Masterful work that reveals the sheer amount of missteps and failures by multiple authorities and institutions and the push to cover it up.”

Photo credits: ESPN