Pulitzer Center grantee Marc Herman, was named a finalist in the LA Press Club awards under the category of online foreign news reporters. The LA Press Club said that this years was "the fiercest competition" in the Southern California Journalism Awards' 58-year history. There were over 1,000 entries submitted.
Herman's project, What Happened on Tarajal Beach? looks at the events of February 7, 2014, a night when hundreds of people tried to cross the Moroccan-Spanish border, by either hopping over the fence or swimming around the fence.
Official stories have changed more than once and allegations of cover-ups have arise: what is known is that the police used tear gas and rubber bullets to drive the people back off of the border. Rather than rescuing the swimmers, survivors report that the Spanish officers were repelling them. At least 15 people trying to cross died. Survivors, witnesses and at least one Spanish emergency response official say the toll could be twice as high.
Herman used what happened on Tarajal Beach to investigate what occurred on that day as well as to examine the broader mounting refugee crisis in Europe. Herman's nominated piece ran in the outlet takepart.
The LA Press Club award winners will be announced on June 26, 2016 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. To purchase tickets or learn more about the awards, visit the LA Press Club.