Six finalists have been named for the Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting. The winner will be announced at the Goldsmith Prize Awards Ceremony on March 15 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The annual award of $25,000 recognizes superb investigative reporting that, according to the Prize’s charter, “discloses excessive secrecy, impropriety, mismanagement or other shortcomings in government or instances of particularly commendable government performance.”
For the first time in the Goldsmith Prize’s history, investigative reports by television journalists are among the finalists – one by a local television station in Chicago and the other by ABC News. The six finalists are:
- ABC News for “The Money Trial,” an eight-part investigation of the corrupting influence of soft money in politics, particularly at the 2000 presidential convention.
- The Chicago Tribune for “The Failure of the Death Penalty in Illinois” and “State of Execution: The Death Penalty in Texas,” which investigated the problems undermining the system of capital punishment in Illinois and Texas.
- The Kansas City Star for “To Protect and Collect,” which investigated police departments across the country who use federal agencies to help them evade their own state laws and keep seized drug money.
- NBC 5 Chicago for “Strip Searched at O’Hare,” an ongoing investigation of U.S. Customs practices that prove allegations of gender and racial profiling.
- The Orange County Register for “The Body Brokers.” This investigation detailed the profits, ethical conflicts, and government oversight of the growing trade in human body parts.
- The Seattle Post-Intelligencer for “Uncivil Action,” which investigated how each year thousands in the United States continue to receive lethal exposure from the cancer-causing fibers of asbestos.
“This year’s Goldsmith Finalists are an extremely impressive and diverse group that hit the bull’s eye of the Goldsmith Prize’s emphasis on investigations aimed at government and public policy. They are all winners,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center.
In addition, the $5,000 Goldsmith Book Prize will also be awarded on March 15. The Goldsmith Book Prize is awarded to the best book that seeks to improve the quality of government or politics through an examination of the press and politics in the formation of public policy. The annual Goldsmith Awards Program receives financial support from the Goldsmith-Greenfield Foundation.
The Shorenstein Center was established in 1986 to promote a greater understanding of the media by public officials and to improve coverage by media professionals of government and politics. The Center serves to increase knowledge of how the media affect government institutions and the political process. In addition, the Center strives to better anticipate the consequences of public policies that affect the media and the First Amendment.