16 The David A. Andelman and Pamela Title Award 2020

Best international TV, video, radio, audio or podcast reporting showing a concern for the human condition

AWARD DATE: 2020

AWARD NAME: The David A. Andelman And Pamela Title Award 2020

AWARD RECIPIENT: The Wall Street Journal Staff and Gimlet Media

AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: Staff

AWARD HONORED WORK: “Vale Ignored Warnings”

AWARD SPONSOR: David A. Andelman and Pamela Title

In 2019, a dam owned by Brazil- based Vale S.A. collapsed near the Brazilian town of Brumadinho, releasing three billion gallons of mud and mining waste and leveling buildings, homes and farms. The disaster killed 270 people. In its aftermath, Wall Street Journal reporters relentlessly investigated the dam’s failure, even as Vale denied fault. The company refused interview requests and site access; Vale workers and business partners were warned not to talk. Nonetheless, the Journal found that Vale had ignored warnings about the dam’s stability and uncovered a conflict of interest in how the company conducted inspections and audits. One year after the collapse, reporters Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes narrated an episode of The Journal podcast that told the story of the dam, its vulnerabilities and the double-edged sword of Vale’s compensatory payments to the mostly poor victims of the disaster. Ultimately, the Journal’s work helped pave the way for regulatory changes in Brazil, strengthened industry guidelines world-wide and gave voice to the countless people whose lives were upended by the collapse.

Winning work: Vale Ignored Warnings. Then Its Dam Killed Hundreds.

Citation for Excellence:
Fariba Nawa, James Gordon Meek, Aaron Glantz, Pete Madden and Chris Harland-Dunaway
ABC News in partnership with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting
“Justice for Halla”