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Home > SPJ News > News Tribune’s Lewis Kamb and InvestigateWest’s Carol Smith receive SPJ New America Award for investigation of Northwest Detention Center

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News Tribune’s Lewis Kamb and InvestigateWest’s Carol Smith receive SPJ New America Award for investigation of Northwest Detention Center



For immediate release

Chad Hosier, SPJ Awards Coordinator, 317-927-8000 ext. 210,
Ellen Kobe, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-927-8000 ext. 205,

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to name Lewis Kamb of The News Tribune and Carol Smith of InvestigateWest as the recipients of its New America Award, which honors work that explores and exposes issues of importance to immigrant or ethnic communities living in the U.S.

The entry, “Center of Detention,” tells the story of how a Tacoma, Wash., detention center worked alongside local politicians to expand the facility on top of a hazardous field prone to natural disasters. Information obtained through public records and government officials, as well as perspectives of immigrants in the center, explains the intricacies of laws and policies surrounding the immigration detention system.

Kamb — a reporter at The News Tribune, a daily newspaper in Tacoma, Wash.— collaborated with Carol Smith, a contributor at InvestigateWest, a investigative journalism nonprofit Kamb helped launch before joining The News Tribune in 2009.

The piece was chosen due in large part to its strength of intertwining investigative reporting and engaging storytelling.

“This report was so well done, a movie or documentary could be made based on this work,” said Sandra Gonzalez, a judge for the New America award. “It was so thorough and carefully woven together between Oscar and the center, from his arrival, to the center's plan to its growth. I kept wanting to read more. I loved how the two were told in parallel timelines.”

Read all five parts of “Center of Detention” and view additional multimedia on The News Tribune’s website.

This is the ninth year the award has been presented. The recipients will be honored Aug. 26 at the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet during the Excellence in Journalism conference in Southern California.

Tickets for the conference, which provides journalists with the industry’s best training and networking opportunities, can be purchased here.

For complete details on the New America Award, including past recipients, please click here or contact SPJ at 317-927-8000 ext. 210.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit


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