Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress
Steve Henn and William Kistner 2006
American Public MediaEven seasoned Capitol Hill journalists were amazed at the scope of travel by Congressional staffers, as reported by the journalistic team of Steve Henn and William Kistner in their series “Congressional Staffers Share the Road” for American Public Radio -- 23,000 privately sponsored trips over the five year period of their analysis. The finished reporting, which broke national news, was called “eye-popping” by the judges. The award also recognizes the impressive collaborative research and reporting effort which included graduate journalism students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity. The team is being recognized for the legwork, tenacity, and patience required for sifting through massive amounts of data in order to detail how special interests use travel perks for unelected Congressional staff as a means to influence the outcome of their legislative agendas. In producing the series, the team is also being cited for their effective use of natural sound to enhance their reporting of this important story.
Steve Henn worked for several daily newspapers, WAMU, Washington’s public radio affiliate and American Public Radio’s Marketplace. At Marketplace he has covered Congress, the White House and Washington, as well as filing stories from Zimbabwe and India. In late 2001 he helped found the show’s Work and Family Desk, and in 2004 he helped launch an investigative collaboration with American Radio Works. Beginning in the summer of 2006, Henn was the Investigative Editor for News 21, a Carnegie-Knight initiative for the Future of Journalism at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and is now an adjunct professor at Medill. Henn’s work has won numerous awards including an IRE award, a Gracie, and an RTNDA Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting.
William Kistner is an investigative reporter and producer who has worked in the broadcast and print media for the past 25 years. Kistner has worked with the Center for Investigative Reporting on a variety of long-term investigative projects for broadcast outlets such as PBS Frontline, CBS 60 Minutes and print outlets such as the San Francisco Examiner and Mother Jones magazine. He also was a Washington based producer with the ABC News magazine program Day One. He started his career as an editor and reporter with Professional Pilot magazine in Washington. His stories and programs have won numerous awards, including the George Polk award and two IRE awards.