The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting’s 2016 reporting has been honored with seven Arizona Press Club awards, including first place for public service journalism, political and public safety reporting in the community category.

Evan Wyloge’s reporting on “dark money,” along with AZCIR’s @AZDarkMoneyBot, by Evan Wyloge and Justin Price, took first place for political reporting in the community category and second place in the statewide political reporting category. Judge Allison Wisk, California politics editor for the Los Angeles Times, said of the reporting, “Wyloge’s work tracking the flow of dark money in Arizona campaigns is an invaluable service to voters in the state. With the Dark Money bot and its accompanying stories, he showed how central data reporting is to journalism by cracking open and simplifying access to campaign finance information for readers.”

The Dark Money Bot also won first place in the community public service category. Judge Jennifer Berry Hawes, projects writer for The Post and Courier, said, “It’s hard to beat this entry for sheer ingenuity. Great idea and fantastic execution on Twitter. And who could resist something called a Dark Money Bot?”

Crystal’s Cage, the harrowing tale of the life and death of a three-year-old girl and the twenty-year investigation that followed by Justin Price, Brandon Quester and Evan Wyloge, won first place for public safety reporting in the community category. Judge Shoshana Walter, human trafficking and public safety reporter for Reveal, said of the piece: “A chilling story about a horrific murder case. The reporters made great use of public records, sources and interviews and composed a vivid narrative that was hard to put down.”

A data-driven investigation by Wyloge into the election results that removed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office, which showed how an erosion of support among Republicans contributed to his ouster, won second place for political reporting in the community category. “Wyloge’s use of data reporting to explain how voters removed firebrand Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office turns any assumption about the election on its head,” judges said.

Wyloge’s investigation into how political operatives with close ties to Arizona’s largest utility tried to stifle efforts to pass a ballot measure that would have helped the local solar industry won third place for investigative reporting in the community category. Judge Andy Hall, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, called the piece a “behind-the-scenes peek at the bare knuckles strategies employed by Arizona Public Service as it seeks to keep the solar industry from expanding in one of the states best suited for this renewable energy source.”

AZCIR’s in-depth analysis of model bills pushed by Arizona lawmakers; by Evan Wyloge, Sarah Jarvis and Justin Price; won second place for government reporting in the community category. “The investigation included an impressive use of new data tools to analyze legislation. It’s a good reminder that lawmakers aren’t always making the laws they’re passing,” the judge said.

Statewide Political Reporting 2nd: @AZDarkMoneyBot and “dark money” reporting
Community Public Safety reporting 1st: Crystal’s Cage
Community Public Service Reporting 1st: @AZDarkMoneyBot
Community Political Reporting 1st: @AZDarkMoneyBot and “dark money” reporting
Community Political Reporting 2nd: Republicans, not Latinos, doomed Arpaio
Community Government Reporting 2nd: Model Government
Community Investigative 3rd: Signature effort aims to derail solar ballot measure