An investigative series by Samantha Hogan, the government accountability reporter for The Maine Monitor, has been named one of 24 semi-finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
The annual award, presented by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, honors the best public service investigative journalism that has made an impact on local, state, or federal public policy or the practice of politics in the U.S.
Hogan’s “Eavesdropping in Maine Jails” series revealed that six Maine county jails recorded nearly 1,000 private attorney-client calls in a single year and some of the recordings were shared with police and prosecutors before trial. The Monitor has continued its reporting as state lawmakers and Securus Technologies, the phone provider for 14 of 15 jails in Maine, have proposed changes to prevent private phone calls from being recorded in the future.
Because of the Monitor’s series, lawmakers are set to weigh recommendations from a study group aimed at preventing Maine jails and prisons from recording attorney-client phone calls and to improve prisoners’ confidential access to lawyers.
During the course of 2½ years of reporting, Hogan made 100 public record requests to county sheriff’s offices to collect records about the state’s 15 jails’ contracts, policies, revenue, usernames, call logs and recording access reports with the facilities’ private phone vendors.
She compiled the call records into a searchable database, which the Monitor made available for free online so the public could search to see if their attorney-client phone calls were recorded.
The six finalists for this year’s Goldsmith Prize hail from the New York Times, Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Floodlight in a partnership with NPR, Mississippi Today, and Reuters.
Other semi-finalist newsrooms included the New York Times; Washington Post; Politico; ABC News in collaboration with Hulu; USA Today; Los Angeles Times; New Yorker in collaboration with ProPublica; Bloomberg; Associated Press, Reuters; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Austin American-Statesman; Chicago Tribune in collaboration with ProPublica; Courier Journal; Sun Sentinel; Open Vallejo in collaboration with ProPublica; Columbia Journalism Investigations in collaboration with Center for Public Integrity and Type Investigations; New Bedford Light in collaboration with ProPublica; STAT; a collaboration between WBUR, The Boston Globe, NPR, and New England News Collaborative; International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in collaboration with ProPublica; and KARE-TV.
The two dozen semi-finalists and six finalists were chosen from nearly 150 investigations evaluated by the judging committee.
Read the full Monitor investigation: Eavesdropping in Maine Jails.
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