CQ Roll Call Reporters Win National Press Club Awards

Top accolades in defense and women in politics

FiscalNote, a Washington-based startup that uses technology to track and analyze legislation around the world, is acquiring CQ Roll Call. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

CQ Roll Call senior reporters Kate Ackley and John M. Donnelly won first-place finishes in the National Press Club’s annual journalism awards for their reporting on women political donors and military accidents.

Ackley, who covers lobbying and influence, received the Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis for her CQ Magazine cover story on women political donors in the age of Donald Trump.

She found a steep increase in the number of women donating to congressional candidates and political action committees leading up to the 2018 elections, as well as a rise in female candidates. Many of the women giving money have been small-dollar donors and are new to political engagement.

Ackley wrote that political organizations have seen skyrocketing involvement by women, including Emily’s List, the fundraising group for Democratic women who support abortion rights, which had more than 18,000 women reach out to the fundraising group about running for office by the time of publishing in October.

Donnelly, who covers defense issues, won the Michael A. Dornheim Award for stories “that exemplify solid and uncompromised investigative journalism,” the judges said. He reported on an internal Air Force finding that F-35 ejection seats were flawed and could kill pilots, and he uncovered that major military accidents were on the decline, even as politicians used recent fatal accidents to push for more defense funding.

Donnelly also first reported emails between the White House and the Pentagon in October exchanging identities and contact information for families that had lost service members, after Trump claimed to have already contacted them.

“We at CQ Roll Call have long known that Kate and John stand out on their respective beats, and are fine examples of the strong reporting and analysis that we do every day,” said Catalina Camia, vice president and editor of CQ News.

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and KDVR of Denver also won awards in the National Press Club contest for their reporting. Ackley and Donnelly will be honored alongside other winners at the National Press Club on Aug. 30.

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