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Selden Ring Award

March 8, 2013

I am thrilled and humbled to win the 2013 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, and will spend the rest of my career trying to live up to the ideals it embodies. Here is what the judging panel, chaired by the Sacramento Bee managing editor Tom Negrete, said in a statement:

“‘In God’s Name’ is a remarkable mix of live interviews and reporting from public records that exposed a serious lack of oversight and regulation together with shocking cases of abuse at religious children’s homes in Florida. The judges were impressed by the doggedness of a single reporter, Alexandra Zayas, in the face of countless obstacles — including the challenge of earning the trust of dozens of sensitive sources. The series documents Florida’s utter abdication of regulation of these homes, and shows how families were misled in entrusting their sons and daughters to religious-based camps with no accountability to anyone. The story was well-organized and its multimedia presentation compelling and powerful.”

My biggest thanks goes out to investigative editor Chris Davis, who helped shape my story to not only tell what had happened to these young people, but why it happened. He taught me to be more systematic, report like a scientist in a lab and look at the big picture.

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