“Sent Away” investigative podcast receives national Gold from the Barlett & Steele Awards

KUER, in partnership with The Salt Lake Tribune and American Public Media, received the Gold award from the annual Barlett & Steele Awards in the Global/National category for the investigative podcast “Sent Away.” 

“It was an honor to work with the talented journalists at The Salt Lake Tribune and APM Reports to tell this important story,” said KUER news director Elaine Clark. “This recognition is evidence of the work that can be done through smart collaboration. Every partner brought unique expertise to the table to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

KUER’s David Fuchs, Jessica Miller from The Salt Lake Tribune and Curtis Gilbert from AMP Reports spent a year investigating Utah’s teen treatment industry, resulting in a seven-episode podcast that shed light on the state’s oversight of the treatment facilities. The podcast found that for years, Utah lawmakers took a hands-off approach to regulating the facilities, often enabling abuse. 

“As a direct result of their reporting, the Utah government has taken a stronger approach to enforcing regulations, including revoking the license of one program named in the podcast,” said a press release from the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. “Additionally, the state is creating an online database to allow free public access to inspection reports — the same documents the reporters had to pay for.”

Hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the awards are named after Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, and honor the best investigative business journalism in the country. The Reynolds Center is housed inside the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. 

“It doesn’t get better than this, when consequential journalism gets the recognition it deserves. I am so happy for all my colleagues,” said KUER executive director Maria O’Mara. “It’s nice to celebrate success and recognition by our peers, but I don’t want anyone to forget that many victims of the abuse at these centers in our reports took a risk by talking to us. They deserve our sincere thanks.”

Click here to see a complete list of the Barlett & Steele Award winners.