Winning a national award is a great feeling. 

That kind of recognition is even more rewarding when the journalism being honored is a work of substance — an important issue dealing with equity and equality that showcases your newsroom’s commitment to issues impacting diverse communities throughout our region.

Why this matters

The National Association of Black Journalists recognized inewsource and NPR station partners for work documenting the prevalence of racially-restrictive clauses in deeds still on the books in San Diego and around the country.

All those sentiments were embodied in the announcement earlier this month that inewsource and its partners at NPR and affiliated stations were awarded first place in the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) 2022 Salute to Excellence Awards.

The award, presented during the organization’s annual conference Aug. 6 in Las Vegas, was in recognition of a reporting project published online and aired on NPR in November 2021, exposing how prevalent racial covenants were in San Diego and around the country. The award recognized the best in radio feature reporting among large market newsrooms for an entry submitted on behalf of NPR, its affiliate stations that participated and inewsource.  

inewsource partnered with National Public Radio, several of its member stations, including KPBS in San Diego, to determine the scope of racial covenant language in counties nationwide. The NPR investigation found racial covenants still on the books in almost all 50 states.

Restrictive covenants prohibited non-white people from owning real estate in San Diego County and nationally. This allowed some families to acquire and pass wealth between generations, but shut out many others from these opportunities.

Today racial covenants are not enforceable, but many old deeds still have them. inewsource partnered with National Public Radio and several of its member stations, including KPBS in San Diego, to determine the scope of racial covenant language in counties nationwide. The NPR investigation found racial covenants still on the books in almost all 50 states.

inewsource produced stories for the web as well as radio and television that were aired locally on KPBS. The newsroom also contributed reporting to the radio segment that aired on NPR that was submitted for the award competition.

But national recognition isn’t the final takeaway from this project — what really matters is concrete change. As a result of our reporting, San Diego County is making it easier for residents to research their property records online in order to uncover and remove such histories.

Recent reporting has shown racial bias has contributed to a widespread undervaluing of homes nationwide, particularly those of Black and Latino homeowners, according to a federally-commissioned report by the National Fair Housing Alliance that was just released. I’m very proud that inewsource has helped expose how such discrimination has a profound impact on quality of life, especially in communities of color. 

– Mark J. Rochester

  Managing Editor

  inewsource

Mark J. Rochester joined inewsource in April 2021 as managing editor. Previously, he was editor in chief of Type Investigations, a national investigative newsroom headquartered in Manhattan. He has held senior management positions overseeing investigative journalism from New York to California, having...