Times of Israel reporter Simona Weinglass was awarded an honorable mention on Monday in the international Trace Prize for Investigative Reporting competition.
Weinglass received the accolade, accompanied by a monetary prize, for her reporting into Israel’s binary options industry, a series of articles spanning 18 months that ultimately led Israel’s Knesset in October 2017 to pass a law banning the widely fraudulent, multibillion dollar Israel-based industry.
The award ceremony was held at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. Top honors went to reporters from the Boston Globe and Investiga Lava Jato, a team of 20 reporters from Latin America and Africa.
The Trace Prize judges described Weinglass’s reporting as “a tenacious investigation of a murky corner of the international derivatives market. Despite intimidation and threats, Weinglass eloquently handled the complexities of the subject and shed much-needed light on an Israel-based industry that is ruining lives and confounding law enforcement agencies far beyond its borders. Strong, powerful, detailed, and ultimately frightening journalism.”
Kelly Carr and Jaimi Dowdell, freelance reporters writing for The Boston Globe, were awarded the top prize for their investigation “Secrets in the Sky,” which details the failures of the Federal Aviation Administration’s registration of U.S. planes and pilots. The judges said: “They started with a tiny strand of a story about a fatal private plane crash in Venezuela. By the end, these freelance reporters had traveled far and wide to produce a mesmerizing tale about a gaping regulatory hole in aircraft registration procedures that has allowed drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and potential terrorists to secretly register private planes in the United States and operate them with little risk of scrutiny. It’s terrifying and beautifully written.”
Investiga Lava Jato, a team of 20 reporters from Latin America and Africa overseen by nonprofit newsroom Convoca, also received top honors for their project “Investiga Lava Jato,” which developed and disseminated in-depth reports about the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) scandal. The judges said: “An exemplary and ambitious collaboration of 20 next-generation investigative journalists from a dozen media outlets across Latin America and Africa exposed fresh details about the company at the core of the sprawling Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) scandal. In an investigation of amazing breadth, this international team showed how the company got special treatment that allowed it to collect more than $6 billion in cost overruns on projects in seven countries where it paid bribes to local officials.”
A second honorable mention was awarded to Joachim Dyfvermark, Sven Bergman, Erik Palm, Miranda Patrucic, Ola Westerberg, Olesya Shmagun, Gino Harel, Luc Tremblay, working with the OCCRP, SVT, CBC/Radio-Canada, Novaya Gazeta, and TT News Agency, for their investigation “Agents of Influence” about a corruption scandal involving multinational company Bombardier Transportation and Vladimir Yakunin, the former head of Russian Railways.
“Unearthing commercial corruption is a difficult and, too often, dangerous job for investigative reporters,” said TRACE President Alexandra Wrage. “We are delighted to honor such deserving recipients, and to congratulate not just those who have won, but all journalists worldwide who unearth corruption.”
The Trace Foundation, which awards the prize annually, is a non-profit organization that supports research, investigative journalism, and publications, videos, and related projects that encourage greater commercial transparency and advance anti-bribery education.
The foundation is affiliated with Trace International, a non-profit organization that provides multinational companies and their commercial intermediaries with anti-bribery compliance support, as well as with Trace Inc. a provider of third party risk-management solutions.