OLD Media Moves

Inaugural Barlett and Steele award winners named

October 8, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Reporters at The New York Times and The Sun in Baltimore have been awarded the inaugural Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism announced late Monday.

A Toxic Pipeline” by Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker of The Times received the first-place $5,000 award. Their stories documented China’s role in supplying a counterfeit drug ingredient that killed at least 100 people in Panama and is suspected of killing thousands of others around the world.

Barlett & Steele AwardsTheir use of first-person interviews and public records to spotlight the issue of Chinese exports of drugs and food has had dramatic international impact, the judges said.

On Shaky Ground” by Fred Schulte and June Arney of The Sun received the second-place $2,000 award. Their series in December 2006 tracked how Baltimore’s arcane system of property fees initiated in colonial times had evolved into a system of greed and lax oversight that preyed on the poor and elderly.

They assembled a customized electronic database to track hundreds of lawsuits, cases and files. An original, well-presented series focused on the paper’s own back yard and made a difference, said judges.

Receiving honorable mention, listed alphabetically, were:

–Bloomberg Markets, “The Secret World of Modern Slavery” by Michael Smith and David Voreacos.

–The Charlotte Observer, “Sold a Nightmare” by Binyamin Appelbaum, Lisa Hammersley Munn and Ted Mellnik.

–The Toledo Blade, “Business as Usual” by Joshua Boak and Jim Tankersley.

“Response to the inaugural Barlett & Steele Awards was dramatic, with the quality and number of entries a tribute to the dedication of U.S. journalists and publications during a difficult time for the media,” said Andrew Leckey, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

“Our panel of respected judges commended the entries and said the selection process required extremely hard choices.”

Biographies of judges and links to the articles are on the BusinessJournalism.org website.

The awards to encourage investigative business journalism are named for the team of Don Barlett and Jim Steele, who won two Pulitzers with The Philadelphia Inquirer and two National Magazine Awards at Time. They have worked together more than three decades and are currently contributing editors to Vanity Fair.

“Don Barlett and I are deeply honored that the Reynolds Center has established this award in our name,” said Steele. “But, more importantly, we are gratified that it is providing leadership to recognize and encourage in-depth reporting of business.”


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