Phoenix New Times reporters Antonia Noori Farzan and Joseph Flaherty have won the October Sidney Award for exposing two Motel 6 locations that were calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to report undocumented guests, the Sidney J. Hillman Foundation announced from New York this morning
“Motel 6 betrayed its own customers, and the New Times team exposed their underhanded tactics. Motel 6 has no obligation to cooperate with ICE. The company’s actions are a violation of privacy and an attack on the immigrant community,” Sidney judge Lindsay Beyerstein said.
The foundation noted that the reporting resulted in Motel 6's corporate headquarters promising to end the practice and also prompted calls for an investigation by politicians and human rights activists.
Hillman Foundation sponsors several prizes for journalism that highlights social and economic justice.
The Sidneys are presented monthly. HBO’s VICE News Tonight won the September Sidney for "Charlottesville: Race and Terror."
Farzan joined New Times in January as a full-time reporter. Flaherty is serving a six-month fellowship, which began in June. Both are recent graduates of the Columbia University School of Journalism. The Columbia Journalism Review featured their work recently.
The reporters will split the $500 prize and a bottle of union-made wine presented to the monthly winners.