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The Marshall Project Wins a 2020 Headliner Award

Honored with first place for “Digital presentation of a single features topic.”

“Detained,” a multimedia immersive project from Emily Kassie that explores the rise and expansion of America’s immigration detention system—the world’s largest—has won first place in the “Digital presentation of a single features topic” category for the 2020 National Headliner Awards. The annual awards recognize journalistic merit in the communications industry. “The Marshall Project and The Guardian provided a smart blend of text, video and graphics to draw attention to how the U.S. got the immigration detention system it has,” said the judges.

Published in partnership with the Guardian in September, “Detained” explores how a system designed to process new arrivals swelled from holding a little more than 2,000 people in 1979 to detaining over 52,000 people in a network of federal and private prisons and county jails. Blending video, data visualization, interactivity and text in a compelling design, the story takes viewers on a 40-year journey that begins with a makeshift response to a humanitarian crisis, and ends with the emergence of the world’s largest immigrant detention system.

“We’re honored and proud that ‘Detained’ has received the Headliner Award,” said Susan Chira, editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project. “Emily Kassie spearheaded this ambitious examination of how the detention system mushroomed over the decades, through Republican and Democratic administrations.”

“‘Detained’ sheds light on a community whose stories too often go untold, and whose experiences beg many questions about how immigrants and asylum seekers are treated in this country,” said Enjoli Liston, deputy head of news, Guardian US. “It combines the best of the Marshall Project's criminal justice expertise and the Guardian's independent reporting to hold power to account. We hope its immersive storytelling helps our audience reimagine a better way forward.”

Established in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City, the National Headliner Awards are one of the oldest annual contests recognizing outstanding writers, photographers, daily newspapers, magazines, graphic artists, radio and television stations and networks, and news syndicates. See a list of all of this year’s winners for the National Headliner Awards.

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