Six entries have been chosen as finalists for the 2005 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, awarded each year by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG). The winner of the $25,000 prize will be named at an awards ceremony on March 22 at the Kennedy School.
The prize honors journalism that promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics by disclosing excessive secrecy, impropriety and mismanagement, or instances of particularly commendable government performance.
“Each year we seek brave and ground-cutting work that has the special objective of making society and government better,” said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center. “We look for work that will have a real impact, and the power of our 2005 finalists is pile-driving.”
This year’s finalists
- Paul Donsky and Ken Foskett of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for “Wired for Waste,” a series of articles revealing how the Atlanta public schools misspent or mismanaged nearly $73 million from a national program intended to give poor children access to the Internet.
- James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly for “Blind into Baghdad.” Based on extensive investigative work with military and intelligence officials, Fallows examined the origins and consequences of America’s difficulties in occupied Iraq.
- Diana Henriques of The New York Times for “Captive Clientele.” Business reporter Diana Henriques exposed how insurance companies, investment firms, and lenders have cheated thousands of American soldiers and their families through the sale of misleading insurance policies and loans. She also revealed that the people selling these dubious products were often former military officers.
- Suo and Erin Hoover Barnett of The Oregonian for “Unnecessary Epidemic.” Suo and Barnett tackled methamphetamine abuse in Oregon and uncovered loopholes within the pharmaceutical industry that perpetuate the problem.
- Ken Armstrong, Florangela Davila, and Justin Mayo of The Seattle Times for “The Empty Promise of an Equal Defense.” This series exposed how public defenders in Washington work under crushing caseloads and financial conflicts resulting in poor representation and little guarantee of justice.
- Brett Shipp and Mark Smith of WFAA-TV, Dallas, for “State of Denial.” Broadcasts revealed how state regulators failed to penalize insurance carriers when they unjustly denied benefits to thousands of legitimately injured Texas workers.