Four IRE members were among journalists honored in the seventh annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, announced today by the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism.
The awards are named for the investigative team of Don Barlett and James Steele, they are funded by the Reynolds Center and celebrate the best in investigative business journalism. This year’s winners:
- America’s Worst Charities, by IRE members Kris Hundley and Kendall Taggart in a joint project of the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting, received the top gold award of $5,000. Reporters identified charities that steered as much as 95 percent of donations to boiler-room operations and direct-mail companies, leaving only a token amount to help those in need. They assembled interactive databases to help readers examine the worst 50 charities and state enforcement actions against thousands more organizations.
- Hundley and Taggart discussed the details of this investigation in a Google Hangout with IRE and spoke at the 2013 IRE Conference in San Antonio. Watch the hangout here and download the conference audio and tipsheet here.
- The United States of Subsidies, by Louise Story of The New York Times, received the silver award of $2,000. The project tabulated the $80 billion that local governments dole out to corporations each year in tax breaks and other business incentives – expenditures to recruit and keep businesses that may or may not produce results. Story methodically contacted revenue departments and agencies that administered incentives to compute the total cost to taxpayers that had never been compiled before.
- Inside Game: How Corporate Insiders Profit Ahead of the Public, by IRE members Susan Pulliam and Rob Barry with colleagues Michael Siconolfi and Jean Eaglesham of The Wall Street Journal, received the $1,000 bronze award. More than six months went into creating a database to examine how more than 20,000 corporate executives traded their own companies’ stock over the course of eight years. It revealed that more than 1,000 executives had generated big profits or avoided big losses. The FBI and SEC launched investigations the day after the initial article.
- “iTheft,” by Gerry Smith of The Huffington Post, traces the growing and dangerous trail of stolen iPhones, iPads and other connective devices to a global distribution network that nets an estimated $30 billion annually. Citing the articles, top-level law enforcement officials have pressed manufacturers to add a “kill” switch to their devices that would render them inoperable after they are stolen.