The Trace is pleased to announce that staff writer Brian Freskos and reporter Alain Stephens have been named finalists for the distinguished Livingston Awards for Young Journalists.

The honor recognizes outstanding reporting and storytelling by journalists under the age of 35. Freskos is a finalist in national reporting for Easy Targets, an exposé on lax gun store security, which laid out in unprecedented detail how unaccountable retailers fuel the gun trafficking that puts weapons on city streets. The multimedia project, published in partnership with The New Yorker, generated immediate impact: Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois reintroduced legislation to mandate security measures for gun stores, and U.S. Representative Joe Morelle of New York  introduced a bill mandating security systems and more frequent compliance inspections

Stephens is a finalist in local reporting for his illuminating feature on the proliferation of homemade, unserialized ghost guns in California. The article, produced in partnership with three California NBC stations, documented the increasing popularity of ghost guns in the criminal market, and law enforcement’s struggle to police them. After the story was published, California passed a law to tighten regulations on parts used to assemble homemade weapons. 

The Trace is also celebrating our first-ever nomination for a Webby Award. Since Parkland is a finalist for a 2020 Webby Award for Best Individual Editorial Feature by a media organization. For this 10-month reporting project, student reporters profiled 1,200 American children and teens who were shot and killed during the 12 months after the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since Parkland is nominated alongside projects from The Washington Post, Univision, and CNN. 

All Webby nominees are eligible to win the People’s Voice Award, and the public can vote for their favorites from April 28 through Thursday, May 7, at 11:59 p.m., PST. 

The winners of the Livingston Awards will be announced on Twitter on June 4, 2020. The Webby Awards will announce winners at a digital celebration on Tuesday, May 19. 

About the Trace

The Trace is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization, and the only media outlet dedicated to full-time and in-depth reporting on America’s gun violence crisis. Since our launch in June 2015, we have partnered with more than 125 national and local media organizations, including BuzzFeed, USA Today, McClatchy, The New Yorker, Politico Magazine, WNYC, Tampa Bay Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Slate, Chicago Sun-Times, Foreign Policy, and Teen Vogue. Our stories increase the public’s knowledge and understanding of the issue and spur action by policymakers, researchers, and law enforcement.

The Trace is always eager to hear from journalists interested in partnering with our nonprofit newsroom. Got an idea for a project? Please drop a note to Managing Editor Akoto Ofori-Atta at [email protected].