The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has named Adam Tanner, a former Reuters international correspondent and bureau chief, and Annie Murphy, an independent journalist who has produced or reported for NPR, PRI, and the Atlantic, as this year’s recipients of its 2014 Reporting Award.


The award supports a work of journalism in any medium on significant underreported subjects in the public interest.

Tanner will report on the business of medical data—the complex trade in personal medical details generated from doctor visits, hospital stays, and pharmacy purchases. Selling de-identified data has become a multi-billion dollar business, even if such practices are largely hidden from the public. In his research, Tanner will analyze what data are widely available, what vulnerabilities exist in the existing infrastructure, and how the system could be strengthened for the future. The work will also examine how the availability of such big data helps advance medical science.

Murphy will focus on coastal zoning and climate change in the United States. Her work will center on remote fishing communities and vacation towns in northern New England, looking at how flooding and global warming stand to transform the coast, and the lives of people who live there, with a specific emphasis on property values, and access to flood insurance.

Tanner, a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, recently completed What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data–Lifeblood of Big Business–and the End of Privacy as We Know It, a book to be published this fall by PublicAffairs (Perseus Group). From 1995 until 2011, Tanner worked for Reuters, including as bureau chief in the Balkans and in San Francisco. In other postings he served in Germany, Russia, and Washington D.C. He was part of the Reuters team cited in 2012 as a Pulitzer finalist in international reporting. He has appeared on the BBC and NPR, and writes for Forbes, Worth, and other magazines.

Murphy is a journalist working in print and sound. She began her career in Bolivia, then spent several years as a regular contributor to NPR. Today, she works as an independent producer for programs like PRI’s ”The World” and Radio Ambulante, where she’s also a consulting editor, and writes for outlets that include the Atlantic, Harper’s and The Virginia Quarterly Review. Murphy has also taught classes about journalism, narrative, and sound at places like the University of California at Berkeley and IDEO. Her reporting has earned support from the Fulbright Program, Middlebury College’s Environmental Journalism Fellowship, the International Reporting Project, and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.

In establishing the award in 2009, the Carter Journalism Institute’s faculty cited the need for encouraging enterprise journalism during a time of extensive layoffs and budget cuts throughout the journalism industry.

Tanner and Murphy will each receive stipends of $2,500 upon their selection as the competition winners and an additional $6,500 upon successful completion of the work. As visiting scholars at NYU, both Tanner and Murphy will have use of the Institute’s facilities as well as NYU’s libraries and other scholarly resources. The completed articles are expected to be published in a major media outlet either alone or in conjunction with the Institute.

Sarah Stillman, the inaugural recipient of the Reporting Award, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to report on the abuse of third-world service workers on U.S. military bases there. Her piece, “The Invisible Army,” which appeared in the June 6, 2011 issue of the New Yorker, won several of journalism’s top prizes in 2012: the National Magazine Award in the category of “Public Interest”; the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism; the Overseas Press Club‘s Joe and Laurie Dine Award for International Human Rights Reporting; and the Michael Kelly Award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth.”

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