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Several of the nation’s top print journalists gathered at the Kennedy School this morning to swap stories of their efforts to uncover graft, corruption and cheating – in government, the health care industry, and in corporate America.
The panel discussion, sponsored by the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, featured members from each of the six finalist teams nominated for the 2007 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
The winning team, honored during ceremonies Tuesday night at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, was Charles Forelle, James Bandler and Mark Maremont of the Wall Street Journal. Their series, “Stock Option Abuses,” revealed how dozens of executives from top corporations rewarded themselves with millions of dollars in back-dated stock options.
Maremont recounted how the practice of unethical stock price manipulation had been going on for 25 years. “People were cheating on their options. They were filing false paperwork, but nobody really knew what was going on,” he said.
Forelle admitted it was “tedious drudgery” to pore through financial records to uncover the extent of the scandal, but said it was well worth the effort. As a result, more than 130 companies are currently under federal investigation and more than 60 top officials have lost their jobs. Many of the former executives have been charged with federal crimes.
Launched in 1991, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting honors journalism which 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.
The other finalists for the 2007 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting were:
* Walter V. Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Beth Healy, Francie Latour and Heather Allen, of The Boston Globe for “Debtors’ Hell.”
* Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber of The Los Angeles Times for “Transplant Patients at Risk.”
* Debbie Cenziper of The Miami Herald for “House of Lies.”
* Ken Armstrong, Justin Mayo and Steve Miletich of The Seattle Times for “Your Courts, Their Secrets.”
* And Dan Morgan, Gilbert M. Gaul and Sarah Cohen of The Washington Post for “Harvesting Cash.”
A special citation was awarded to The Center for Public Integrity for its efforts to fill the void left by the decreasing amount of top quality investigative news coverage by “mounting investigations of exemplary quality and then freely sharing its findings with other journalists and the public.”
Longtime network news analyst Daniel Schorr was granted the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Broadcasting during the ceremony Tuesday night.
Photos: Martha Stewart
(L-R) Walter Shorenstein, Daniel Schorr and Robert Greenfield
The Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday morning featuring members from each of the six finalist teams nominated for the 2007 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.