KFF’s Kaiser Health News (KHN) and Guardian US have won the National Press Club’s top award for online journalism for their “Lost on the Frontline” investigation. The year-long project documented the lives of more than 3,600 health care workers in the U.S. who died after contracting covid-19 on the job.
The Press Club’s Joan M. Friedenberg Online Journalism Award recognizes “the best journalism that uses online technology to provide a more compelling report than a print or broadcast story alone.” Journalists at KHN and the Guardian developed a searchable online database of those who died and used that as the jumping off point for a series of investigative reports that provided a window into the workings – and failings – of the American health care system during the pandemic.
They found that many of the deaths could have been prevented. Widespread shortages of masks and other personal protective gear, a lack of covid testing, weak contact tracing, inconsistent mask guidance by politicians, missteps by employers and lax enforcement of workplace safety rules by government regulators all contributed to the increased risk faced by health care workers.
Among the key findings was that two-thirds of deceased health care workers for whom the project has data were people of color, revealing the deep inequities tied to race, ethnicity and economic status in America’s health care workforce. Lower-paid workers such as nurses, support staff and nursing home employees were more likely to die than physicians were.
More than 100 journalists contributed to the project. They filed public records requests, combed through governmental and private data sources, scoured obituaries and social media posts, and confirmed deaths through family members, workplaces, and colleagues.
This is the second time in four years that KHN has won this National Press Club award. The newsroom, an operating program of KFF, won in 2018 for an investigation into the booming orphan drug business. The Lost on the Frontline project also has been recognized with awards from the News Leaders Association, World Association of News Publishers and the NIHCM Foundation, just a few of the many awards and honors that KHN has received for its journalism.
About KFF and KHN
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.
About Guardian News & Media
Guardian US is renowned for its Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, and for other award-winning work, including The Paradise Papers. Guardian US has bureaus in New York, Washington, New Orleans and Oakland, California, covering the climate crisis, politics, race and immigration, gender, national security and more.
Guardian News & Media (GNM), publisher of theguardian.com, is one of the largest English-speaking newspaper websites in the world. Since launching its U.S. and Australian digital editions in 2011 and 2013, respectively, traffic from outside of the U.K. now represents over two-thirds of The Guardian’s total digital audience.