Post and Courier series on domestic violence named finalist for national award

The West Ashley grave site of Detra Rainey and her four children, who were among hundreds to die in domestic killings across South Carolina over the past decade.

The Post and Courier has been named one of six finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The Post and Courier received the honor for its five-part series “Till Death Do Us Part,” which examined South Carolina’s ranking as one of the deadliest states in the nation for women at the hands of men. The series, written by Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Natalie Caula-Hauff, revealed that more than 300 women were killed by husbands or boyfriends in a decade, while the state’s leaders did little to stem the violence.

The other finalists include The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, Reuters and ProPublica and NPR.

The winner of the Goldsmith Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony on March 3 at the Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass.

The Goldsmith Prizes are underwritten by an annual gift from the Goldsmith Fund of the Greenfield Foundation. The Investigative Reporting Prize, which carries a $10,000 award for finalists and $25,000 for the winner, is intended to recognize and encourage journalism which promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics by disclosing excessive secrecy, impropriety and mismanagement, or instances of particularly commendable government performance.

“This group of Goldsmith Prize finalists includes newspapers of different sizes, new media, radio, and a news service — which indicates that high quality work is being done on every platform,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center.

The Post and Courier’s team of four reporters began work on the series in September 2013 when the Violence Police Center in Washington, D.C., ranked South Carolina No. 1 in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. The California-based Center for Investigative Reporting later provided financial assistance with the effort along with editing advice and database training.

“Till Death Do Us Part,” published in August, revealed numerous failings, including limited police training, inadequate laws, a lack of punishment, insufficient education for judges, a dearth of support for victims, and traditional beliefs about the sanctity of marriage that keep victims locked in the cycle of abuse. The series has prompted efforts to reform South Carolina’s domestic violence laws, among other things.

The series has previously been awarded the 2015 John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for “Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting,” a first-place award for investigative journalism in the 2014 EPPY Awards sponsored by Editor and Publisher, and September’s Sidney Award from The Sidney Hillman Foundation, which honors excellence in journalism in service of the common good.