Six entries have been chosen as finalists for the 2008 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting awarded each year by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (HKS). The winner of the $25,000 prize will be named at a March 18 awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at HKS. 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.
“In a period when news organizations are cutting back on their budgets, the finalists for this year’s Goldsmith Prize are proof that investigative journalism of the highest quality is still a hallmark of the American press,” said Thomas Patterson, acting director of the Shorenstein Center. “Each of these news stories exposed a troubling threat to our public life and, in doing so, brought about needed change.”
The finalists for 2008 are as follows:
Joshua Kors, The Nation, for “Thanks for Nothing.” Kors revealed how military doctors are purposely misdiagnosing soldiers wounded in Iraq as having been ill before joining the Army. His investigations resulted in a Congressional hearing, bills in the House and Senate, and an added amendment to the Defense Authorization Act.
Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker, The New York Times, for “A Toxic Pipeline.” Bogdanich and Hooker uncovered what would turn out to be China’s most lethal export: diethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze that was used in medicine and is suspected of killing hundreds around the world. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has halted all imports of Chinese glycerin. China has reversed its position on diethylene glycol.
Tom Dubocq, The Palm Beach Post, for “Palm Beach County’s Culture of Corruption.” This two-year investigation exposed Palm Beach County’s worst corruption scandal in nearly a century, prompting federal investigations and leading two county commissioners, a prominent lobbyist, and a governor’s appointee to plead guilty to corruption charges.
Loretta Tofani, The Salt Lake Tribune, “American Imports, Chinese Deaths.” While the harmful effects of products made in China and consumed in America were being uncovered, Chinese factory workers were dying from carcinogens used in making these products. Tofani’s reporting spurred Democratic proposals to require overseas enforcement of worker protections in trade agreements.
Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, The Washington Post, “Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency.” Gellman and Becker’s four-part series examined the most powerful vice president in history and how he operates, providing a greater public understanding of the Bush-Cheney era.
Dana Priest and Anne Hull, The Washington Post, “The Other Walter Reed.” Priest and Hull exposed the deep and widespread problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Their reporting resulted in the dismissal of the commander of Walter Reed, the surgeon general of the Army, and the secretary of the Army. Additionally, their story brought about an overhaul for treating outpatients in the military health system.