“America’s Medical Supply Crisis” Wins an IRE Award


Various N95 respiration masks at a laboratory of 3M. (REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi)

April 5, 2021
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

America’s Medical Supply Crisis — a 2020 investigation by FRONTLINE, The Associated Press and the Global Reporting Centre — won an IRE Award, the nonprofit journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. announced today.

The joint documentary won the IRE Award in the Video (Division 1) category — the largest circulation category for network or syndicated TV.

America’s Medical Supply Crisis investigates why the U.S. was left scrambling for critical personal protective equipment (PPE) at the start of the global coronavirus pandemic and why problems persisted months into the crisis. Alongside the AP and the Global Reporting Centre, FRONTLINE unpacks the fragmented medical supply chain and ultimately its deadly consequences.

“We’re so pleased that the dogged journalists behind this reporting collaboration have been recognized by the IRE,” says FRONTLINE’s executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath. “During some of the darkest days of the pandemic, this investigative team revealed the fragility of our medical supply chain, shining light on an important issue that has had dire consequences. We are grateful to the Associated Press and the Global Reporting Centre for their partnership in telling this story, and we share this honor with them.”

In comments from the IRE judges, America’s Medical Supply Crisis was praised for “expos[ing] the shocking vulnerability we all face based on the country’s truly flawed medical supply system and inadequate preparation for large public health crises.”

The judges recognized the reporting team’s pursuit of truth and use of data to tell this story, adding: “Their work met the moment when the stakes could not be higher as the world faces an unprecedented pandemic.”

Additionally, IRE also recognized Plastic WarsFRONTLINE and NPR’s investigation into the fight over the future of plastics — as a finalist in the Video (Division 1) category. Also honored was Luanda Leaks: an investigation from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), FRONTLINE and 33 other media partners examining how Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos became Africa’s richest woman. Luanda Leaks was a finalist for the Tom Renner Award (for Covering Organized Crime or Other Criminal Acts).

The IRE Awards recognize outstanding investigative reporting and are presented annually at the organization’s conference. The 2021 IRE Conference will be held virtually June 14 through 18. Read the full list of this year’s IRE Award recipients.

Watch the award-winning documentary America’s Medical Supply Crisis in its entirety below.