2019 LitFest Television Excellence Presenter: Ken Armstrong
Ken Armstrong joined ProPublica in 2017. In 2018, his reporting with Christian Sheckler on the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana, led to criminal charges against two officers and the police chief’s resignation. He previously worked at The Marshall Project, where his work appeared in the Washington Post, The New Yorker and The Paris Review. For his collaboration with ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller, about a woman charged with lying about being raped, Armstrong won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. That story also became a “This American Life” episode; a book, A False Report; and, in 2019, an eight-part Netflix series, “Unbelievable.”
Armstrong previously worked for the Seattle Times, where he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series with Michael Berens that showed how the state of Washington steered Medicaid patients and others to a cheap but unpredictable painkiller linked to more than 2,000 deaths in the state. At the Seattle Times, he also shared in two staff Pulitzers for breaking news for coverage of a landslide that killed 43 people and the shooting deaths of four police officers.
He has also written for the Chicago Tribune, where his work with Steve Mills helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and empty death row. He has been honored with six IRE Awards, a Peabody Award and the John Chancellor Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement. His book with Nick Perry, Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for nonfiction. Armstrong, a graduate of Purdue University, has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton.