Rain Media Wins a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

Firestone and the Warlord, a collaboration with ProPublica revealing the iconic tire company’s secret history in Liberia — has won 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards.

Firestone and the Warlord won in the New Media category. The multiplatform investigation in collaboration with ProPublica was led by Marcela Gaviria, T. Christian Miller, Jonathan Jones and Will Cohen.

Told as both a documentary film and an interactive text story, the Firestone and the Warlord investigation spanned seven years and unearthed 44 pounds of previously unreported court documents.

It found that Firestone agreed to pay millions of dollars to the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor in exchange for being able to operate in Liberia — money that, in Taylor’s own words, provided the “financial assistance that we needed for the revolution” — and uncovered how Taylor turned the company’s plantation into a rebel base that he used to wage a bloody civil war.

“I want people to come away from the documentary and the story thinking about individual choices,” veteran FRONTLINE producer Gaviria said. “It’s very easy to say, ‘Well, corporations make these choices, because what matters is the bottom line’— but people work in corporations.”

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, given annually by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, recognize outstanding reporting on human rights and social justice issues. You can read a full listing of the 2015 award recipients here, and you can watch our winning films below.