Shorenstein Center Announces Six Finalists for 2017 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

CAMBRIDGE, MA, Jan. 30, 2017 — Six finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting have been announced by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. The winner of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting will be announced at an awards ceremony on March 2, 2017, at the Kennedy School. Additionally, Jorge Ramos, Emmy-winning anchorman for Noticiero Univision, will receive the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism and deliver the keynote speech.

The Goldsmith Prizes are underwritten by an annual gift from the Goldsmith Fund of the Greenfield Foundation. The Investigative Reporting Prize, which carries a $10,000 award for finalists and $25,000 for the winner, is intended to recognize and encourage 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, or instances of particularly commendable government performance. The Goldsmith Career Award is given for outstanding contributions to the field of journalism, and for work that has enriched political discourse. Past recipients include Gwen Ifill, Seymour Hersh, Walter Isaacson and Christiane Amanpour.

“During a time of extreme business challenges for news organizations, we were delighted to see so many excellent submissions of investigative reporting from across the country,” said Shorenstein Center Director Nicco Mele. “The six Goldsmith finalists represent the very best work by talented reporters investigating a wide range of important policy areas.”

The six finalists for the 2017 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting are:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Carrie Teegardin, Danny Robbins, Ariel Hart and Jeff Ernsthausen
Doctors & Sex Abuse
This Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation revealed a culture of secrecy and deference that protected doctors who sexually violated vulnerable patients. In light of the findings, the Georgia medical board is re-examining its handling of sexual misconduct, and lawmakers in several states are considering strengthening patient protections.

Chicago Tribune
Sam Roe, Karisa King and Ray Long
Dangerous Doses
Chicago Tribune’s two-year investigation into prescription drug interactions sparked widespread reforms at the nation’s pharmacies, led to the creation of a scientific method for discovering fatal drug combinations, and prompted state and federal authorities to call for policy and legislative action.

Los Angeles Times
David S. Cloud
California National Guard Enlistment Bonus Scandal
After the Los Angeles Times revealed that the California National Guard was using tax liens, wage garnishments and other penalties to recover tens of millions of dollars in enlistment bonuses from about 9,700 soldiers and veterans, the Secretary of Defense suspended the repayment program and Congress passed a law that will waive most of the debts.

Mother Jones
Shane Bauer
My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard
Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer spent four months working as a guard to get a deep look inside the secretive world of private prisons, exposing mismanagement. Within a few weeks, the Department of Justice announced it would end its use of private prisons and the Department of Homeland Security said it would consider doing the same.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Josh Salman, Emily Le Coz and Elizabeth Johnson
Bias on the Bench
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune revealed that trial judges throughout Florida treated black and white defendants differently, sentencing blacks to more time behind bars and giving them fewer second chances. Florida lawmakers have called for more oversight, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee suggested a mandatory annual review of sentencing patterns.

The Wall Street Journal
John Carreyrou, Christopher Weaver and Michael Siconolfi
The Downfall of Theranos
The Wall Street Journal revealed fraud at a laboratory startup that promised a revolutionary blood testing technique. The investigation exposed problems in the technology that jeopardized the health of patients. As a result, Theranos was sanctioned by federal health regulators, Walgreens terminated a contract with the company and numerous lawsuits have been filed.

The Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize judges were Audra Burch, enterprise and investigative reporter at the Miami Herald and 2015 Goldsmith Prize winner; Mike Greenfield of the Greenfield Foundation (financial supporters of the Goldsmith Awards Program); Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief and publisher at the Los Angeles Times; and Sacha Pfeiffer, reporter at The Boston Globe and 2003 Goldsmith Prize winner. Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center, chaired the meeting and served as a judge. Judges recused themselves from voting on entries from their employer.

About Jorge Ramos
Jorge Ramos has been the anchorman for Noticiero Univision since 1986. He writes a weekly column for more than 40 newspapers in the United States and Latin America, and provides daily radio commentary for the Radio Univision network. Ramos also hosts Al Punto, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering analysis of the week’s top stories, and Fusion’s AMERICA with Jorge Ramos, a news program geared towards young adults. Ramos has won eight Emmy awards and is the author of ten books, most recently, A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto.

Goldsmith Book Prizes
The Goldsmith Book Prize is awarded to the academic and trade books that best fulfill the objective of improving democratic governance through an examination of the intersection between the media, politics and public policy. The Goldsmith Book Prize for best academic book will be awarded to James T. Hamilton for Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism (Harvard University Press).The Goldsmith Book Prize for best trade book will be awarded to David Greenberg for Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency (W.W. Norton).

The Goldsmith Awards Ceremony
The ceremony will include the presentation of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Goldsmith Book Prizes and the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism, followed by a keynote speech by Career Award winner Jorge Ramos.

Thursday, March 2, 2017, 6:00 p.m.

John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA

The ceremony will also be streamed online. Learn more.