Blog entries by Center for Investigative Reporting
The Online News Association announced their finalists for the 2011 Online Journalism Awards this week, and The Civil Rights Cold Case Project is a finalist in the Specialty Site Journalism category. We're proud of all that this project has achieved, and we're very honored to be considered for the award.
For four years, Stanley Nelson has investigated the death of Frank Morris, a shoe repairman who died from fatal burns after his shop was torched in 1964. Nelson, whose efforts have led him to identify a suspect in Morris’ killing, was recognized earlier this week as a Pulitzer finalist for local reporting.
Nelson, an editor at The Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday-Vidalia, La., was selected by Pulitzer judges in the Local Reporting category due to "his courageous and determined efforts to unravel a long forgotten Ku Klux Klan murder during the Civil Rights era."
"Every single unsolved Civil Rights murder that has been opened or reopened and prosecuted or reprosecuted in the last 20 years has been because of a journalist," said Hank Klibanoff, managing editor of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project.
After a big breakthrough in the Frank Morris case, Concordia Sentinel editor Stanley Nelson appeared on public radio program The Takeaway. Listen to the interview.
Over the past 20 years, every unsolved civil rights murder case that has been reopened and successfully prosecuted in the South was the direct result of an investigation initiated by a journalist.
So the FBI’s decision to close, without prosecution or further disclosure, all but a few of the 108 unsolved murder cases it began re-examining three years ago, only highlights the vital need for investigative reporting that can find the truth, tell the stories and fill in the gaps in our nation’s history.