The Michael Kelly Award

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Tom Warren and Katie J.M. Baker

BuzzFeed News

Citation

“It’s one of the world’s most cherished charities,” write Tom Warren and Katie J.M. Baker in the cover letter accompanying their entry. “And it’s complicit in shocking human rights abuses against some of the globe’s most impoverished people.” In an exposé spanning six countries and supported by thousands of pages of documents and more than 100 interviews, Warren and Baker reveal the human cost of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s war on poaching. The human-rights abuses committed by WWF-funded rangers include waterboarding, gang rape, and murder. “WWF said it does not see indigenous communities as its target: The goal is to catch organized criminals, not people struggling to feed their families,” Warren and Baker explain. “Yet, time and again, indigenous groups—both small-fry hunters and innocent bystanders—say they suffer at the hands of the rangers.”

Entry

WWF’s Secret War

Biography

Tom Warren is an investigations correspondent at BuzzFeed News, where he has won several awards for his work. He was a Pulitzer finalist for investigating 14 deaths on British soil linked to Russia. He has also worked on stories revealing systemic misconduct at Britain’s equivalent of the FBI, obtained and reported on leaked data from one of the world’s dirtiest banks and revealed wildlife charity WWF’s links to human rights abuses at parks it manages. He spent much of his twenties out of work or in minimum wage labour before qualifying as a journalist in 2013. Before joining BuzzFeed he worked at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, where he won New Journalist of the Year at the British Journalism Awards. 

Katie J.M. Baker is an investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News. Her work has changed state law, twice prompted nationwide legislation, and forced companies and governments around the world to launch investigations. Her reporting has taken her from the jungles of Cameroon to the massage parlors of suburban America. Before she joined BuzzFeed News’ investigation desk in 2017, she was one of the first reporters in the U.S. to cover campus sexual assault. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Overseas Press Club’s Whitman Bassow Award, and she was a Livingston Award finalist. Although she now lives in London, she’s a California girl through and through who was raised in Los Angeles, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and got her start in journalism at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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