The Chicago Tribune’s investigative series revealed how a deceptive campaign by the chemical and tobacco industries brought toxic flame retardants into people’s homes and bodies, despite the fact that the dangerous chemicals don’t work as promised. As a result of the investigation, the U.S. Senate revived toxic chemical reform legislation and California moved to revamp the rules responsible for the presence of dangerous chemicals in furniture sold nationwide.
“The judges this year were especially struck by the initiative shown in recognizing a very important policy issue embedded in something as familiar and unthreatening as a sofa,” said Alex S. Jones, Director of the Shorenstein Center. “It goes to prove the importance of not just looking, but seeing and acting.”
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 five finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting were:
Alan Judd, Heather Vogell, John Perry, M.B. Pell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for “Cheating Our Children”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s series on irregularities in standardized testing revealed that pressure for ever-higher scores led to apparent cheating by teachers and school administrators across the nation. The reporting, based on analysis of tens of thousands of test results, initiated a national conversation about the long-term effects of the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Collaboration by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International, with additional cooperation from members of the Investigative News Network for “State Integrity Investigation”
The State Integrity Investigation created a tool that is being used by news organizations all over the nation to hold government accountable. The collaboration was a data-driven analysis of every state’s laws and practices that deter corruption and promote accountability and openness, thus providing local news organizations a means of investigating what is happening in their state. The results include accelerated reform in government and an increase in disclosure requirements in many states.
Jason Felch, Kim Christensen and members of the Los Angeles Times staff, of the Los Angeles Times for “The Shame of the Boy Scouts”
The Los Angeles Times made public thousands of files documenting sexual abuse of Boy Scouts by their troop leaders, resulting in reforms that will help ensure the protection of children. The Boy Scouts of America has launched a comprehensive review of the files, with a promise to report to law enforcement any cases not previously disclosed. The Scouts also apologized to victims of abuse and offered to pay for their counseling.
Charles Duhigg, Keith Bradsher, David Barboza, David Segal and David Segal and David Kocieniewski of The New York Times for “The iEconomy”
This series revealed the harsh conditions under which Chinese workers assembling iPhones and iPads live and work; the low pay and high turnover at Apple’s retail stores; and the lengths to which Apple went to reduce its tax bill. As a result of the investigation, Chinese working conditions and salaries have improved, Apple has announced it will invest money in U.S.-based manufacturing and Congress opened an investigation into technology company tactics to reduce taxes.
David Barstow of The New York Times for “Wal-Mart Abroad”
David Barstow demonstrated that Wal-Mart’s conquest of Mexico was built on a foundation of corruption and revealed how top executives feared exposure and made attempts to keep their practices in the dark. As a result of this series, the Justice Department and the SEC are investigating for violations of the federal anti-bribery law. Wal-Mart has also overhauled its compliance and investigation protocols.
The Goldsmith Book Prize is awarded to the best academic and best trade books that seek to improve the quality of government or politics through an examination of press and politics in the formation of public policy.
The Goldsmith Book Prize for best academic book was awarded to:
Jonathan M. Ladd, for Why Americans Hate the Media and How It Matters.
The Goldsmith Book Prize for best trade book went to:
Rebecca MacKinnon, for Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.
The Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism was given to Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist for The New York Times.
The Goldsmith Awards Program is funded by an annual grant from the Goldsmith Fund of the Greenfield Foundation.