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Cox Media Group and KFF Health News named finalist for prestigious Pulitzer Prize in Public Service

ATLANTA — The Cox Media Group (CMG) investigative team and KFF Health News were recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service, considered to be the most prestigious of the Pulitzers. This is a historic achievement for CMG, which is the first local broadcast media company to receive this honor.

“Being a Pulitzer Prize finalist is strong validation for the value of our investments in local news and investigative journalism on a national level,” said Marian Pittman, President of Content for CMG. “We’re honored to be included among this elite group of journalists recognized today.”

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Action News Jax’s Ben Becker is part of the CMG team of journalists nominated for this honor, along with KFF.

CMG and KFF were recognized for their work in meticulously detailing the systemic overpayment of vulnerable Americans by the Social Security Administration (SSA), totaling billions of dollars. The SSA followed those overpayments with demands for quick reimbursement, with some repayments reaching tens of thousands of dollars.

Since CMG and KFF began investigating the SSA, pivotal policy changes have been implemented, underscoring the profound influence of journalism in shaping outcomes that benefit millions of people. In March 2024, the SSA announced internal changes to stop withholding 100% of people’s benefits to recoup overpayments. The agency vowed to make its notices easier to understand, to shift the burden of proof to the agency instead of beneficiaries, and it’s now considering limiting how far back in time the agency can reach to recover overpayments.

Read: Social Security Overpayment Outrage series

“We couldn’t allow this injustice to continue,” Social Security Commissioner Martin O’Malley said in an interview with CMG in March. “Sometimes it takes a crisis. Sometimes it takes an organization like yours [CMG] to lift up a shortcoming for us to look at our data differently.”

The investigative teams from CMG’s local television markets and its Washington News Bureau played pivotal roles in the award-winning reporting, collectively airing more than 100 news stories in 2023. The partnership with KFF, a non-profit online platform distributing content through media partners nationwide, amplified the impact of the investigation, reaching millions of TV viewers and online readers.

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CMG launched its investigative journalism team to harness the power of local news to drive national change. This initiative facilitated collaboration between investigative reporters and external partners, resulting in high-impact reporting that drove positive change nationally.

Today’s recognition as a Pulitzer Prize finalist follows a string of wins for CMG and KFF. They recently earned a prestigious 2024 National Headliner Award, took first place in Government Reporting by the National Association of Healthcare Journalists, and were recognized with the Goldsmith Awards’ inaugural special citation for Government Reporting.

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About Cox Media Group, Action News Jax’s parent company:

CMG Media Corporation (d/b/a Cox Media Group) is an industry-leading media company with unparalleled brands, award-winning content, and exceptional team members. CMG provides valuable local and national journalism and entertainment content to the people and communities it serves. The company’s businesses encompass 15 high-quality, market-leading television brands in 9 markets; 50 top-performing radio stations delivering multiple genres of content in 10 markets; a Washington, DC news bureau; and numerous streaming and digital platforms. CMG’s TV portfolio includes multiple primary affiliates of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo and MyNetworkTV, as well as several valuable news and independent stations. For more information about CMG, visit www.coxmediagroup.com.

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