OLD Media Moves

Barlett & Steele winners named

October 7, 2009

The Miami Herald received the gold award and Bloomberg Markets magazine the silver award in the third annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism announced Wednesday.

“Borrowers Betrayed” by Jack Dolan, Matthew Haggman and Rob Barry of The Miami Herald received the top gold award of $5,000.

A nine-month investigation and resulting series uncovered poor oversight by Florida mortgage regulators that permitted thousands of individuals with criminal records to conduct business in the state’s home loan industry. Starting with the tragic case of a single mother who lost her home because of a crooked broker, the Herald expanded its probe to ultimately topple one of Florida’s most powerful commissioners.

“The Herald really nailed this investigation, uncovering a unique angle on the theme of the year,” the judges said in their assessment of the work. “It found a staggering degree of nonfeasance on the part of the state, bringing perpetrators to life and showing the human impact of misdeeds.”

“AARP’s Stealth Fees” by Gary Cohn and Darrel Preston of Bloomberg Markets received the silver award of $2,000.

Through public documents and scores of interviews, reporters found that the world’s largest organization for seniors collects hundreds of millions of dollars annually from insurers who pay for AARP’s endorsement of their policies. The insurance companies build this cost into premiums they charge AARP members. AARP sometimes also holds client insurance premiums as long as a month and invests the money, the reporters found.

“Beginning with a complaint by an individual AARP member, Bloomberg Markets goes on to surprise the reader with a number of revelations about an organization whose conduct and organizational lifestyle had previously been taken for granted,” the judges said.

Read more here.

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