Debbie Cenziper 

Debbie Cenziper is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and nonfiction author who writes for The Washington Post. She is also the newly named Director of Investigative Reporting at the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Over 20 years, Debbie's stories have sent people to prison, changed local, state and federal laws, prompted FBI and Congressional investigations and produced more funding for affordable housing, mental health care and public schools. 

 

She has won dozens of awards in American print journalism, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award, given by Ethel Kennedy and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting from Harvard University.

 

"It takes time to do this kind of reporting and pressure to produce can be intense. But the work matters, and readers thank us in the best way possible – they keep reading."

Debbie received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize at The Miami Herald for stories about affordable housing developers who were stealing from the poor. A year before that, Debbie was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in explanatory reporting for reports that chronicled widespread breakdowns in the government’s multi-billion-dollar hurricane-warning system.

 

At The Washington Post, she has reported on local nonprofit groups that failed to provide services for people with AIDS and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's troubled housing-construction program for the poor, which led to changes in federal law. “Left With Nothing,” about the District's flawed tax lien program, was awarded the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights and the American Society of Newspaper Editors' local accountability award. “Forced Out,” exposing dangerous conditions in the District's rent-controlled apartments, was awarded Harvard University’s 2009 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. 

Debbie is a frequent speaker at universities, national writing conferences, book clubs and festivals. She has been a guest on dozens of television and radio shows, including CNN, MSNBC and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Debbie and her stories at The Miami Herald were featured in a national PBS documentary on investigative reporting; her work at The Washington Post was featured in an award-winning, full-length documentary film, released nationwide in 2013.

 

Debbie's first nonfiction book, "Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality," (William Morrow 2016) was named one of the most notable books of the year by The Washington Post. It received widespread praise and a starred review from Booklist.

"I grew up reading Judy Blume, Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Molly Ivins and Anna Quindlen. Now, I read a mix of everything. There is nothing quite like turning the page of a great book."

In June 2017, Debbie was even named in a question on the game show Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebec asked contestants, “Like Bob Woodward at The Washington Post, Debbie Cenziper is this type of reporter, from the Latin for ‘to track.’”

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