AJC investigative reporter Samantha Hogan honored with national journalism award

Hogan, who joined the AJC earlier this year, won for 2023 investigative work detailing failures of Maine’s probate court system
AJC investigative reporter Samantha Hogan

Credit: Photographer: Diego A. Vasquez

Credit: Photographer: Diego A. Vasquez

AJC investigative reporter Samantha Hogan

Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Samantha Hogan was honored Tuesday with a national journalism award — the Livingston Award for Young Journalists — for her investigative work at The Maine Monitor, where she worked before joining the AJC’s investigative team earlier this year.

The prestigious Livingston Awards recognize the best work of journalists under the age of 35. Hogan, 30, was honored for a series that exposed systemic failures in Maine’s probate courts and public guardianship program. Her reporting documented questionable deaths of those in the state’s care and how individuals may have had their life savings pocketed by the conservators assigned to protect their interests.

“Samantha Hogan’s multiyear investigation into an alarming lack of oversight within Maine’s probate courts is a shining example of local journalism at its finest. Her efforts were creative and meticulous,” said New York magazine tech journalist Kara Swisher, who was a Livingston judge.

The Livingston Awards, a program at the University of Michigan’s Wallace House Center for Journalists, received more than 400 entries from journalists across the country for work published in 2023. Hogan’s entry won the local reporting award. The national reporting award went to Allison Behringer and Lila Hassan at KCRW, a public radio station in Los Angeles, for a documentary podcast that explored gender-specific health challenges. The international reporting award went to Renata Brito of The Associated Press for an investigation that retraced the tragic voyages of West African migrants lost at sea as they sought refuge in Europe.

“We are honored to recognize this exceptional reporting that uses text, audio and visual storytelling to full effect,” Lynette Clemetson, the director of Wallace House, said of the honorees. “It is especially inspiring to honor the doggedness of these journalists during a period of painful retrenchment in many news organizations. The persistence of young reporters to pursue challenging work with such ambition and creativity pushes our entire industry forward.”

Hogan’s Livingston Award is the latest in a string of journalism honors she garnered at The Maine Monitor, a nonprofit newsroom that covers Maine. She has been named the Maine Press Association’s Journalist of the Year.

Her series a couple years ago, ‘Eavesdropping on Maine Jails,’ exposed the practice of jail employees improperly recording nearly 1,000 phone calls between inmates and their attorneys, then sharing those recordings with police or prosecutors before trial. Her reporting led the state legislature to pass a bill to end the practice. The series won the Society of Professional Journalist’s Sunshine Award and was a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors award and a semifinalist for a Goldsmith Prize.

A series she did a few years ago in collaboration with ProPublica exposed professional and criminal misconduct in Maine’s system of contracted defense lawyers – private attorneys that contracted with the state to serve indigent defendants. That led to changes that improved the state’s public defense system.

Hogan is a graduate of American University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and environmental studies, as well as a master’s in investigative journalism. Earlier in her career, Hogan worked at The Frederick News-Post, where she covered the environment, agriculture and the Maryland state legislature.

Since joining the AJC’s investigative team in January, Hogan has examined the rise of Georgia’s maternal mortality rate and its impact on the state’s families.