April 13, 2022

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

Izzy Award Ceremony
14th Annual Izzy Award Ceremony on April 26

The Park Center for Independent Media announced that this year’s Izzy Award “for outstanding achievement in independent media” will be shared by nonprofit newsrooms in New York and Chicago for exposing corruption that harmed low-income residents of those cities; independent journalist Jenni Monet for her weekly newsletter giving voice to Native American communities; and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, for its Pandora Papers exposé.

PCIM will host an online award ceremony on Tuesday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. EDT, featuring speeches from the honorees followed by a Q&A session.

Register to attend the ceremony here.


An investigation by Greg B. Smith of THE CITY, a nonprofit newsroom based in New York, uncovered how 5,000 public housing apartments in buildings long ago deemed cleared of contamination contained lead paint.

Smith’s incisive reporting called out the continuing legacy of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)’s failure to ensure the wellbeing of its residents. After the stories pushed NYCHA to re-inspect one family’s home, ensuing scrutiny led to a $25 million award for the company to address health and safety emergencies, including $7 million for health hazards from lead paint.

The judges commented: “Such big-city nonprofit newsrooms are crucial because corporate media too often overlook major stories affecting the urban poor.”

Better Government Association and Block Club Chicago

Two nonprofit newsrooms — Better Government Association and Block Club Chicago — published an explosive series on corruption at Chicago’s Loretto Hospital. BGA’s investigation, “Milking Medicaid,” also exposed how Illinois’ privatized healthcare program shifted hundreds of millions of dollars from healthcare and Medicaid providers to insurance companies.

These investigations led to an FBI probe of Loretto Hospital’s vaccination program and have revealed the malfeasant conflict of interest at the top of Illinois’ Medicaid program.

“The impact of their stories has been tremendous,” said the judges, “bringing down a greedy elite of politicians, businessmen, hospital administrators, board members, and doctors, while narrating the stories of patients’ and workers’ incredible courage to act to expose cruel malpractice and vaccine scandals at Loretto Hospital.” 

Jenni Monet for “Indigenously: Decolonizing Your Newsfeed”

With Indigenously, Jenni Monet explores the beauty of conservation from her travels and reports on the history of violence and injustice against Native Americans. Monet has articulated the pain of disproportionate deaths and disappearances of Native women and girls and reminds that the momentary shock of headlines is “a lived experience every day.”

Monet’s free weekly newsletter fills in the gaps left by public education and media ecosystems that fail to educate and inform Americans about the past and present of Native American communities in the United States. The judges called Indigenously “a brave weekly newsletter, like Izzy Stone’s, on people and issues that mainstream journalists tend to ignore.” 

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The Pandora Papers investigation amounts to the largest journalism partnership in history. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) documented numerous stories that revealed the secretive system that allows the world’s rich to hide money and dodge taxes, instigating calls among dozens of countries for tougher laws, public hearings, and government investigations.

This latest reporting partnership of ICIJ exposed tax havens within the U.S., a nation that has criticized others for enabling money laundering.

The judges noted, “As the most extensive collaboration in the history of journalism, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists merits special Izzy recognition for undertaking — and succeeding in — a cooperative endeavor considered virtually impossible by conventional journalistic wisdom.”

The Edge
Gender Chaos, Ukraine 2022: Nations, Globes, and What Is a Woman Anyway?

Zillah Eisenstein undertakes an examination of proliferating questions arising from the Russia-Ukraine war concerning gender and nationhood. As “women and children” flee Ukraine as refugees, other women remain home as soldiers, and women in other European nations lead the charge to re-militarize.

“Gender chaos exposes truths,” says Eisenstein. “The COVID pandemic uncovered and exposed the multiple layers of women’s lives. Massive amounts of unrecognized, necessary, unpaid labor in the caring sector of domestic, as well as paid, labor uncovered the essentialness of women’s unrecognized labor.”

At this inflection point in history, says Eisenstein, “maybe we are finally opening new possibilities for a non-gendered equality and freedom.”

Read Eisenstein’s full commentary on The Edge.

FLEFF Retrospective: The Unmaking of a College

On March 27, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and PCIM hosted a screening and talkback of the documentary “The Unmaking of a College.”

The documentary, directed by Amy Goldstein, explores the 75-day student sit-in during 2019 at Hampshire College — a private, liberal arts college in Massachusetts. The protest came in response to the president’s attempts to give up the independence of the institution, considered one of the most experimental colleges in the United States.

Joining the talkback was Salmaan Hameed, an associate professor of integrated science and humanities at Hampshire College. “Being in there was like the middle of a storm,” Hameed said. “The way the announcement was made, it was to maximize the shock. It came out of nowhere. … So I can pretty much safely say that this was one of the most stressful times in my life.”

Read more from the talkback on The Edge.

Climate Crisis
IPCC Report’s Analysis of Fossil Fuel Industry Excluded From Policymakers’ Brief

Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its third and final report on climate change. This covered potential solutions, which are a focal point of controversy for the fossil fuel industry and the governments of oil-rich nations, covers Truthout.

The impacts of the fossil fuel industry are discussed throughout the report’s 3,000 pages but are absent from the “Summary for Policymakers” — the most critical part of the report, which attracts the most media attention. An earlier draft addressed the fossil fuel industry but was watered down by the some of the same “vested interests” that are “limiting ambitious transformation.”

In just five or six years, according to the IPCC report, the world, without drastic measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, will suffer irreversible damage: significant sea level rise, drastic biodiversity loss, and even populated parts of the planet eventually becoming unlivable for humans due to persistent drought and extreme weather and heat.

Last week also brought an estimated 1,000 scientists in more than 25 countries to demonstrations to demand world leaders do far more to reduce climate-warming emissions, reports Inside Climate News. Part of a growing “Scientist Rebellion,” some researchers were arrested for locking themselves to the gates of the White House and blocking highway traffic.

In Other News

1. Damning report exposes evidence of Russian war crimes as Putin’s troops mass in east (The Independent)

2. Why So Many COVID Predictions Were Wrong (The Atlantic)

3. Joe Biden Approves $800 Million In New Military Aid For Ukraine (HuffPost)

4. COP26 promises will hold warming under 2C (BBC)

5. ‘Burnt out and tired’: nurses at leading California hospitals prepare to strike (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website and The Edge, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.