"ALEC: Exposed" Wins September Sidney Award

The Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation magazine have won this month's Sidney Award for excellence in socially conscious journalism, the Sidney Hillman Foundation announced Tuesday.


The winning project, "ALEC:Exposed" is a groundbreaking print and multimedia expose of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The project consisted of a website and a special section of The Nation.

The winners obtained over 800 leaked documents from ALEC and used them to analyze the secretive organization's agenda and impact. The leaked materials were posted online for public inspection and discussion.

ALEC is a "bill mill," a membership organization where state lawmakers huddle with corporations to write cookie cutter legislation that is introduced in state houses all over the country. These model bills, which often become real laws, touch on virtually every area of state government from weakening environmental protections to eliminating collective bargaining for public sector workers. I've blogged about ALEC here at Focal Point.

I interviewed winners Mary Bottari and Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy on the story behind the story of ALEC:Exposed.

John Nichols, Joel Rogers, Laura Dresser, Wendell Potter, Lisa Graves, Julie Underwood, Mike Elk, and Bob Sloan also contributed to "ALEC: Exposed." Liliana Segura, The Nation's Associate Editor, edited this special section.

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