In 2013, at the height of the debate over the name of the Washington Redskins, Capital News Service showed that dozens of U.S. high schools that once shared the name had dropped it because of concerns that the name is racist towards Native Americans. In defense of their name, the NFL team frequently mentioned the number of high schools that shared it. CNS showed that the NFL team was dramatically overstating the number of schools that continued to use it. That authoritative package, “The Other Redskins,” is regularly cited by advocates and opponents of the continued use of the name in public debate.
“More than a Mascot” is an exhaustively reported follow-up investigation to “The Other Redskins.” It is based on interviews with more than 100 people in communities across the country in 2017. Though the debate over the NFL team’s name has subsided, we found 20 percent of schools that used the name in 2013 abandoned it over the last four years. As part of this package, CNS also examined the extensive lobbying Washington campaign undertaken by the Washington Redskins to tamp down public criticism of the team, and shed light on why the debate over the name has yet to return to national consciousness at a time of heightened discussion of racial issues. Native American activists have already begun citing our package as they attempt to revive the debate.
For this package, CNS built a database, and a nuanced, multi-story package that combines, photo, video, a podcast, interactive charts and maps, social graphics and animated gifs.
Thank you for considering this project for an award.