Documented journalists’ coverage of the tragic fire at the Twin Parks apartment building in the Bronx is nominated for two national journalism awards. These awards, offered by the Institute for Nonprofit News and Local Independent Online News, recognize journalism that brings tangible impact to underserved communities.
Seventeen people died in the fire that engulfed the Twin Parks apartment building in an immigrant-heavy neighborhood in the Bronx. The weeks that followed were filled with mourning and also action; NYC residents came together to raise $2.5 million in cash assistance for the survivors.
Documented reporter Amir Khafagy stayed in touch with the survivors and learned that months later, they had barely seen any of this money. In fact, Mayor Eric Adams had only distributed $265,500 to the families who were staying in bedbug-infested motels paid for by the city. The rest went into the Mayor’s discretionary fund.
Khafagy’s article “Pregnant, Sick, Homeless and Afraid: Bronx Fire Survivors Say the City is Not Doing Enough” caused a social media outrage. Within the week, Mayor Adams announced that he was giving $3 million to the families affected by the Twin Parks fire.
That community impact earned our newsroom the LION Publishers Accountability Award, which “recognizes general excellence in journalistic impact that led to the accountability of those in positions of power and a demonstrable positive outcome for the affected community.”
Our impactful coverage of the Bronx fire also earned our newsroom a nomination for the INN Breaking Barriers Award. In addition to Khafagy’s investigation, the nomination recognizes “‘Not Happening in White Communities’: The Data Behind NYC Fires”, written by Giulia MccDonnell Nieto del Rio. She analyzed the prevalence of structural fires, like what overtook the Twin Parks apartment building, and found a pattern that tracks with subpar housing: these blazes happen more often in Black, Latino and immigrant neighborhoods.
Also included in the INN nominated coverage is “Bronx Fire Survivors Slowly Piece Together Their Lives” written by Rebecca Chowdhury, who spoke with displaced immigrants about how they’re rebuilding their lives amid fears of deportation after the Bronx fire.
The INN Breaking Barriers Award “recognizes reporting that brought new understanding to an issue affecting people who are historically underrepresented, disadvantaged or marginalized, resulting in impactful change.” This year, Documented received an honorable mention in the large newsroom category.
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