Miami Herald wins 30th Annual Brechner Award

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Miami Herald has been named the winner of the 30th Annual Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award for its groundbreaking investigative series titled: “Innocents Lost.”

The two award-winning Herald reporters, Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch, investigated Florida’s child welfare system by following the lives – and deaths – of children within the system. As part of the three-year-long investigation, the reporters pored over thousands of documents, uncovering a system that was clearly broken, leaving children unprotected and at risk. The Miami Herald was forced to file three public records lawsuits demanding access to many of the documents about the treatment of the children and their caregivers. They found Florida agencies consistently failed to provide adequate treatment for drug-addicted parents, neglected to implement adequate safety plans to protect children from abusive or neglectful caregivers, and hid in the shadows of Florida’s open records law. The entire "Innocents Lost" series can be viewed online at The Miami Herald's website.

The Brechner Center presented the 2015 Brechner Award on April 11, 2016 at the Florida Free Speech Forum luncheon to Carol Marbin Miller on behalf of The Miami Herald and, fellow reporter and partner on the project, Audra D.S. Burch who was unable to attend the ceremony.


The annual award was established by the late Joseph L. Brechner, an Orlando broadcaster. Previous award winners include the AP, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The St. Petersburg Times, the Lakeland Ledger, The Dallas Morning News, the (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel and the Houston Chronicle. 
The annual award was established by the late Joseph L. Brechner, an Orlando broadcaster. Previous award winners include: the AP, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The St. Petersburg Times, The Dallas Morning News, the (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel and the Houston Chronicle.

 

Located at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Fla., the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information exists to educate and promote freedom of information laws and policies. It serves the students of UF, Florida citizens, media lawyers and journalists nationally and internationally by providing training sessions, answering queries and conducting scholarly research on First Amendment and freedom of information issues.