DIGITAL BREAKING NEWS, Division 1
Finalist- Amanda Levin, The Deal, for “Unsolicited bid puts Cleco on the block.”
DIGITAL BREAKING NEWS, Division 2
Winner- Dan Mangan, CNBC.com, for Affordable Care Act subsidies ruling coverage.
Dan Mangan at CNBC.com was ready last July when two appeals courts issued split decisions about Obamacare subsidies. Within minutes of the July 22 ruling that ACA subsidies were unconstitutional, Mangan posted the news ahead of most other national outlets. What’s more, his story went well beyond the headline to provide analysis and context. It clearly explained the details of the very complex court decision. It was breaking news at its best.
DIGITAL COMMENTARY, Division 1
Winner- Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, for “The Trade.”
Jesse Eisinger’s sweeping critique of the failure of the Justice Department to hold bank executives accountable for the 2008 financial crisis stands above the other entries. Eisinger’s writing is fresh and free of jargon. He offers a powerful analysis of the Obama Administration’s tepid response to financial reform, and a penetrating look at how the industry successfully pushed back against regulators. By combining unique reporting with a deep understanding of how power and influence work in Washington, Eisinger shows how Wall Street and its defenders avoided criminal liability.
DIGITAL COMMENTARY, Division 2
Winner- Walt Mossberg, Re/code, for his technology columns.
Walt Mossberg produced original and authoritative columns that overtly placed honesty and service to the reader over cheerleading and pandering. That’s a rare and welcome feat, particularly amid today’s (over)saturated tech and gadget coverage, and thus deserving of recognition.
DIGITAL EXPLANATORY, Division 1
Finalist- Rob Hotakainen, Takaaki Iwabu, Patrick Davison, Danny Dougherty, Tish Wells, Cheryl Diaz Meyer, McClatchy Washington Bureau, for “US exporters eye Japan.”
This series amounts to a traditional business story that’s all grown up. The anecdotal approach enables readers to grasp the bigger picture of U.S.trade with Japan piece by piece. The stories are well edited and the images, pull quotes and maps that accompany them are engaging.
Winner- Matt Drange, Susanne Rust, Andrew Donohue, The Guardian US, The Center for Investigative Reporting, for “Toxic Trail.”
By following a single waste stream, the story was focused enough to help readers understand the subject. The depth of reporting was impressive. The interactive elements were well placed and expanded on the narrative. The “Six Things to Know” sidebar was additive, rather than repetitive. The follow-up story showed the reporting got the kind of attention it deserved.
DIGITAL EXPLANATORY, Division 2
Finalist– Elizabeth Gannes, Re/code, for “I want it and I want it now: The machine behind instant gratification.”
Winner- Heesun Wee, Kevin Krim, Jeff Nash, CNBC.com, for “How millennials are shaking North Korea’s regime.”
DIGITAL FEATURE, Division 1
Winner- Eleanor Bell, Daniel Wagner, Center for Public Integrity, for “Time is Money.”
Daniel Wagner and Eleanor Bell of The Center for Public Integrity took a deep dive into the math and mechanics of the prison-payments industry and came up with a compelling report on how financial companies are making big profits as the costs of incarceration increasingly are shifted to inmates’ families. Their report, Time is Money, exemplifies the spirit of public service journalism, showing how some of society’s more vulnerable residents are being squeezed – even though they themselves committed no crime. The center’s package harnessed the power of digital journalism through a top-notch documentary, compelling anecdotes, clear writing and helpful graphics. There’s ample evidence of tough questions and real digging throughout the package, which ultimately leads to a detailed portrait of certain government contracts, the businesses that win them and the people affected. In addition to the documentary, two accompanying reports offered deeper dives for readers who wanted to know more. Talk about impact: The Center for Public Integrity noted that regulators began investigating after their report was published. And six weeks later, Jpay, which performs money transfers for the bulk of U.S. offenders, said it had created a free way to transfer money for the families of 100,000 inmates.
DIGITAL FEATURE, Division 2
Finalist- Nellie Bowles, Re/code, for “Downtown Las Vegas is the great American techtopia.”
Winner- Lawrence Delevingne, Kevin Krim, Jeff Nash, CNBC.com, for “The life and death of a master of the universe.”
The judges felt this was a well-crafted, compelling story that not only presented a nuanced and sensitive portrait of prominent Africa investor Bruce Wrobel, but that also shed light on a number of important issues, including the challenges of balancing the need for infrastructure projects in Africa with environmental and cultural concerns. The story broke news, revealing Wrobel’s cause of death for the first time, and also placed Wrobel’s life, career, and suicide in a broader context. The judges also were impressed with how beautiful photographs, graphics, videos and interactives were integrated into the story-telling, contributing to an immersive and memorable experience.
DIGITAL GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 1
Winner- The Deal Staff, The Deal
The Deal offers coherent, well-researched news and analysis on the big topics affecting investors, including corporate hacking and the Scottish independence bid. A piece on the reality behind India’s much-hyped “pro-business” prime minister, Narendra Modi brought a nuanced assessment to what might have been the dreaded one-hand/other-hand chestnut. And by pegging a story on small business succession to the death of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, it turned a potentially dry piece into a readable drama.
DIGITAL GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 2
Winner- Quartz Staff, Quartz
Judges chose Quartz a second consecutive year in this category for its smart news judgement (i.e. story on absurd number of Greek pharmacists as a window on its wider troubles) and strong journalism with a view (story making the case for paternity leave), as well as appealing presentation that integrated multiple graphics, an interactive visualization of every satellite in the skies, and beautiful photos taken by airline pilots in violation of FAA rules.
DIGITAL INVESTIGATIVE, Division 1
Finalist- Paul Kiel, Chris Arnold, ProPublica, National Public Radio for “The long life of debt.”
Every health care reporter in the country should read this story. ProPublica did a great service in uncovering a practice where hospitals are going to incredible lengths to recoup money from patients. The profound effect on their lives is well-documented. This series of stories should create some change.
Winner- Greg Gordon, Lydia Mulvaney, Deb Gruver, Paul Hampton, Tish Wells, Danny Dougherty, McClatchy Washington Bureau, for “Motorola’s lock on emergency communications equipment.”
This series of stories is investigative journalism at its best. McClatchy uncovered Motorola’s attempts to corner the municipal public safety radio market. The work done by McClatchy was significant in uncovering contracts that were not in the taxpayers’ best interest. Instead, the stories offered strong examples, documents and more to show how Motorola has wielded influence across the country.
We liked how the findings of the investigation and the life-and-death consequences of the monopoly it exposed were clearly laid out in the first piece and explained further throughout the series.
DIGITAL INVESTIGATIVE, Division 2
Finalist- Adam Feuerstein, TheStreet, for “Galena’s good reviews.”
Dogged, tightly focused investigation of apparent corporate misconduct; the reporter’s efforts presaged an SEC probe and likely contributed to the firing of a CEO.
Winner- David Sirota, International Business Times, for “Public Money, Private Profits.”
Original, tenacious reporting that displayed a mastery of scouring documents, analyzing data and holding public officials accountable. The reporter took a locally inspired topic and turned it into a nationally significant series with demonstrable impact.
Finalist- Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, for Chesapeake Energy coverage.
These hard-hitting stories presented a fascinating look, based on intensive and enterprising reporting, at Chesapeake Energy, one of the country’s largest oil and gas companies. The stories were well organized, splendidly written, balanced, and thorough. They also were accompanied by clear and interesting art that helped clarify key points and that provided important background and context for non-experts.
Finalist- Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer, for energy coverage.
Through a series of stories that continue to this day, The Charlotte Observer thoughtfully and persistently examined the potential impact of a coal-ash spill that put the drinking water for thousands at risk. In doing so, reporter Bruce Henderson revealed the prevalence of coal ash–and its toxic components–in the region and raised questions about the information utilities were allowed to keep hidden. The reporting helped spur a broad debate about how coal-ash is stored and galvanized a move to strengthen regulations of a substance that represents a threat to the environment and human health.
Winner– Jeffrey Ball, Fortune, for “Mexico Black Gold.”
It’s not easy to make an energy story sing–and even tougher when the main character is a state-run energy company. But with “The Drama of Mexico’s (Black) Gold,” Jeffrey Ball pulls off just that: a gripping and insightful piece about Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, Mexico’s national oil conglomerate. Through extensive reporting and a memorable cast of characters, Ball builds a compelling narrative of Mexico’s most important company—by far the biggest employer, accounting for more than one-third of the national budget—as it prepares for its biggest challenge in 76 years: the return of foreign oil companies to help exploit Mexico’s vast reserves. In his vivid telling, this business story becomes about much more than executives scrambling to transform a notoriously old-fashioned and inefficient company. It is the tale of a nation deciding to open up its energy markets to the world to stay competitive—and facing a very uncertain future.
Finalist- Ann Marsh, Scott Wenger, Kamrhan Farwell, Financial Planning for ”Could financial planning help stem the rate of military suicides?”
Financial Planning senior editor Ann Marsh’s investigation into military suicide is an excellent example of journalism as mythbusting. As the entry emphasized: “Despite the prevailing belief that combat trauma drives the epidemic, Financial Planning’s investigation found that more than 80% of suicides in 2012 were among soldiers who did not see combat – and more than half of the suicides that year were among soldiers who never even deployed.” This type of reporting is essential to understanding the true nature of the problem so that proper services can be provided.
Finalist- Allan Sloan, Fortune, for “Positively Un-American.”
Allan Sloan’s Fortune cover story “Positively Un-American” explained how a little known part of the corporate tax code is costing the U.S. government dearly. Sloan wrote how companies, using a process known as an inversion, can acquire a smaller foreign company and relocate its headquarters overseas – even if the move is only on paper – and pay lower corporate tax rate of that nation. As the entry noted: Sloan explained in clear and compelling prose how when corporations don’t pay their portion of taxes, the rest of the taxpayers have to pick up the slack
Winner- Chloe Sorvino, May Jeong, Geoff Dyer, Victor Mallet, Financial Times, for “The Cost of War.”
Geoff Dyer and Chloe Sorvino’s package of stories and graphics tells us what the U.S. government could not. How much the 13-year war in Afghanistan actually cost. Using meticulous research of government documents supported by interviews with budget officials, this reporting team at the Financial Times reached a staggering conclusion: The war has cost more than $1 trillion. Details on the spending were coupled with excellent analysis of the U.S. involvement in the country and the likelihood of more spending to come.
Finalist- Rita Price, Ben Sutherly, The Columbus Dispatch, for “Home-care Crisis.”
Finalist- Shannon Pettypiece, Jordan Robertson, Bloomberg News, for “Health Secrets for Sale.”
Finalist- Nikhil Deogun, Meg Tirrell, Jodi Gralnick, CNBC, for “Desperate Measures.”
Winner- Beth Daley, Shan Wang, Samantha Costanzo, New England Center for Investigative Reporting, for “Unregulated Tests.”
Finalist- Gregor Aisch, Wilson Andrews, Jeremy Ashkenas, Matthew Bloch, Mike Bostock, Shan Carter, Haeyoun Park, Alicia Parlapiano, Archie Tse, The New York Times, for a collection of economic tools and visualizations.
The New York Times continues to do excellent and pioneering work in data visualization and interactive graphics. It has established itself as the preeminent venue for state-of-the-art economic data visualization. Its offerings in 2014 included tools that allowed users to dissect issues from foreclosed properties in Detroit to vehicle recalls nationally. A particular standout was “Can You Live on the Minimum Wage?, which expertly uses the personal to add perspective to a larger policy debate. Also — and this is much more unusual — it uses visual metaphor in an extremely affecting way. In the interactive, little blocks, each representing a single dollar, appear to “evaporate” off the screen after you key in how much money you spend on housing, utilities, and other living expenses. It actually hurts to watch it happen. Who doesn’t know it’s difficult to live on minimum wage? But when you start entering your finances, and watching your cash evaporate, and then your debt build, it really drives the point home. That’s what this new wave of journalism is all about.
Finalist- Editorial Staff, Crain’s New York Business, for ”The 200 Most-Connected New Yorkers.”
There is no shortage of “best-of,” “worst-of” and “most” lists in journalism. What made Crain’s New York’s 200 Most-Connected New Yorkers list standout was its ambitious scope and innovative use of algorithms to ferret out the web of interconnections that help make the powerful powerful. Crain’s New York’s clever use of big data — combining the publication’s resources with a firm that specializes in finding connections — allowed it to sort through 16,000 business and philanthropy leaders to determine those with the most access to influential people. Using billions of data points, the rankings resulted in a few surprises, including some leaders who topped executives with far more media attention. Crain’s New York’s effort hints at intriguing possibilities for how journalists might use such techniques on a wide range of projects tied to the interconnectedness of people.
Winner- Donnelle Eller, Sharyn Jackson, Christopher Gannon, Des Moines Register, for “Harvest of Change.”
The Des Moines Register reached into the future with a project on the far edge of innovation. The five-part package Harvest of Change explored the transformation of Iowa farm families. The centerpiece is a 3D, 360-degree video virtual-reality tour of one family’s farm. Optimally engineered for the Oculus Rift (a headset still so new as to have limited reach within the general public), the feature included Mac and Windows versions and was produced by a team from Gannett Digital that included a former Electronic Arts game developer. Turning a story into a virtual reality game to let readers explore a scene — rather than just setting it with prose, video or images — is a fascinating experiment for journalism in an age of basically unlimited technical potential. The Register’s package didn’t look like innovation for the sake of using fancy new features, but rather to help the reader understand a story at a deeper level. The package’s written component showed solid journalism with seamlessly integrated video and images as well as interactive graphics on the data behind the transformation of Iowa’s farms.
INTERNATIONAL BREAKING NEWS
Winner- Michael J. de la Merced, Neil Gough, Andrew Jacobs, Karl Russell, The New York Times, for Alibaba coverage.
The reporters’ preparation, sourcing and writing resulted in a compelling package that humanized the biggest IPO of the year. The articles pulled back the curtain on a company, its historical and present impact in China and the meaning of its public offering – connecting the dots for readers in a refreshing and accessible way.
Winner- John Gapper, Financial Times, for his columns.
Finalist- Peter Spiegel, Financial Times, for “How the Euro was saved.”
Peter Spiegel elegantly and provocatively took readers behind the scenes to explain how the Euro was saved. Spiegel’s fine storytelling, underpinned by detailed reporting, made a difficult and important topic understandable and interesting.
Winner- International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Center for Public Integrity, for “Offshore Secrets.”
The Center for Public Integrity’s international consortium project is exemplary for its ability to explain a complex subject with ease, for intrepid reporting that placed some of its partners in grave harm, and for its willingness to hold businesses accountable for misdeeds
Finalist- The Wall Street Journal Staff, The Wall Street Journal, for “Kowloon Walled City.”
On the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the famous walled city in Hong Kong, the Wall Street undertook an ambitious project. The purpose was to recreate – through graphics, video, photographs, sound and text – this amazing city. Journal editors found unseen footage and told the story from the perspective of the unique residents – drug dealers, fish ball makers, children and musicians. In essence, a living museum has been created online that sets a new standard for engagement for journalism worldwide. History has been preserved forever.
Winner- Lily Kuo, Quartz, for “The true implications of China’s North-South Water Transfer Project.”
Kuo travels through China’s midsection to tell the story of one of history’s most massive water projects. The goal is to provide water to northern China, where conservation measures are being ignored and consumption is unchecked. The end result, as reported by Kuo, is that China will likely face even greater water challenges in the future because of the short-sighted nature of the current undertaking. Well told and reported. Beautifully photographed and presented. Engaging graphics. This is story telling of the future.
Finalist- Patricia Kowsmann, Margot Patrick, David Enrich, The Wall Street Journal, for “Fall of Espirito Santo.”
Espirito Santo was a close runner-up that contained very serious reporting on a matter of massive public interest in Europe, and showed originality in uncovering malfeasance at an institution where few had suspected it. The EuroFin piece in particular was a strong scoop
Winner- Stephen Grey and team, Reuters, for “Comrade Capitalism.”
The Comrade Capitalism package boasted a very impressive investigation that combined both document trails and and shoe-leather reporting. The series of stories, efficiently told, showed very clearly how vast sums of money have been siphoned away from everyday Russians by people close to the top echelons of power. It also made good use of graphics. The railways story was particularly strong. All told, the reporting was wide-ranging and deep in scope, across a variety of industries. The reporters faced no easy task in taking on Putin’s friends
NEWS AGENCIES COMMENTARY
Winner- Reynolds Holding, Reuters’ Breakingviews, for his columns.
Breakingviews’ Reynolds Holding explains the difficult legal concepts behind insider trading and offers clear views of the issues with an economy of words.
NEWS AGENCIES EXPLANATORY
Winner- Duff Wilson, Deborah Nelson, Bill Tarrant, Alister Doyle, Ryan McNeill, Reuters, for “Water’s Edge.”
NEWS AGENCIES FEATURE
Winner- Jeff Plungis, David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, for “Death on the Highway.”
All three judges agreed this story was a clear winner in this category: Deeply researched and nuanced, the piece deftly weaves a story about one individual family’s tragedy – and one truck driver’s sage – into a in-depth examination of an issue with national implications. The story of is powerful and moving without being maudlin and the reporters did an excellent job of maintaining their objectivity despite a story that seemingly has “good” and “bad” actors. The accompanying graphics were strong and provided compelling visuals without detracting from the narrative. Everyone involved in this piece should be commended.
NEWS AGENCIES GENERAL EXCELLENCE
Winner- Michael Riley, Ben Elgin, Dune Lawrence, Carol Matlack, Patrick G. Lee, David Voreacos, Jeff Plungis, Martin Keohan, Mary Childs, Alexis Leondis, Charles Stein, Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News for a package highlighted by its coverage of a major mutual fund management change, a massive retail hacking invasion and several unexpected elements of highway safety. The judges were impressed by the entry’s “ambition, scope and authority” and noted “the particularly deep reporting throughout.”
NEWS AGENCIES INVESTIGATIVE
Winner- Michael Riley, Ben Elgin, Dune Lawrence, Carol Matlack, Jordan Robertson, Bloomberg News, for “Cyber Wars.”
Finalist- Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Michael Corkery, The New York Times, for “Driven into Debt.”
Reporters found auto lenders exploiting low-income borrowers desperate for auto transportation, in a mini-reprise of the subprime mortgage loan boom/bust that helped trigger the 2008 financial meltdown…in some cases, the borrowers were paying triple-digit annual interest rates. The lenders are the first cog in a system that includes Wall’s Street’s securitization machine, which pools these loans into bonds sold to big institutional investors. A particularly compelling story describes how lenders are using a new technology — “starter interrupt devices” — that shut off the ignition systems of borrowers’ cars automatically when they miss a payment. All told, a telling example of how, these days, our financial system does so much to favor capital over labor.
Finalist- Margaret Collins, Carol Hymowitz, Richard Rubin, Bloomberg News, for “The 401(k) Mirage.”
This entry shows how, despite the claims of their advocates, 401(k) plans have not fully replaced traditional pensions as sources of financial security for retirees. It nails down the extent to which 401(k) participants have turned these retirement plans into short-term piggybanks by withdrawing money from them to ease immediate financial stress. The reporters trudged through history to discover the “true father” of 401(k)s and to show how the original intent of these plans has led to unforeseen consequences.
Winner- Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, for “Surviving Detroit’s bankruptcy.”
Exemplifies the best that daily local newspapers can provide their readers. With Detroit in bankruptcy, she slogged through complex bankruptcy documents, explained how people expecting pensions and other benefits would be impacted by cuts and prepared individuals to make the hard decisions that would have been overwhelming without her help.
NEWSPAPERS BREAKING NEWS, Division 1
Winner- Robert Snell, Chad Livengood, David Shepardson, Detroit News, for “Bankruptcy breakthrough: Detroit reaches settlement in dispute with its fiercest holdout creditor.”
The news of this breakthrough settlement was clearly of vital interest to Detroit and the importance of this one development in the entire complex of the Detroit bankruptcy was made quite clear by the breaking news article. While the legal story was potentially quite dull, the writers did a good job communicating the drama inherent in the situation, making the story a must-read for Detroiters.
NEWSPAPERS BREAKING NEWS, Division 2
Winner- Matthew Garrahan, Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times, for Apple Beats scoop and analysis.
The scoop on Apple’s biggest acquisition to date was an accomplishment in itself, and the FT followed up with solid reporting and analysis. The reader is left with a clear and balanced picture of why Apple is buying Beats and of the challenge it will face in making the deal work.
NEWSPAPERS BREAKING NEWS, Division 3
Winner- Shalini Ramachandran, Dana Cimilluca, Brent Kendall, Gautham Nagesh, Rani Molla, Dana Mattioli, Martin Peers, The Wall Street Journal, for Comcast-Time Warner deal coverage.
Fabulous, muti-faceted coverage driven by the WSJ’s 11 months of anticipation that a cable industry merger bombshell would explode. WSJ reporters seized the opportunity, quickly diving into multiple angles beyond the Comcast-TWC deal itself – everything from a story about how Comcast CEO Brian Roberts bested his mentor, to the regulatory hurdles ahead. A graphic that was Insightful and painstakingly researched added even more dimension to the coverage.
NEWSPAPERS COMMENTARY, Division 1
Winner- Daniel Howes, Detroit News, for his columns.
NEWSPAPERS COMMENTARY, Division 2
Finalist- Gillian Tett, Financial Times, for her columns.
Winner- David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for his columns.
David Nicklaus powerfully made bigger stories relevant at the voter/consumer level. His prose was highly readable and contextualized and didn’t lean on a crutch of common cliches, while his arguments stood out for their original insights and unique subject matter.
NEWSPAPERS COMMENTARY, Division 3
Winner- Eduardo Porter, The New York Times, for his columns.
NEWSPAPERS EXPLANATORY, Division 1
Finalist- Hugh Bailey, Connecticut Post, for “Ruins Reborn.”
An ambitious and well-executed series that clearly explains the challenge of brownfield redevelopment. It advances the narrative by exploring successful projects. Crisp writing. Excellent use of graphics, videos and historic photographs in order to provide multiple entry points.
Finalist- Jeff Adelson, Rebekah Allen, Mark Ballard, Gordon Russell, Richard Thompson, The Advocate, for “Giving away Louisiana.”
A multi-part series on tax breaks that packs a big punch with snappy writing, detailed reporting and clever illustrations. An inspired example of explanatory journalism that informs civic debate
Winner- Daniel Howes, Chad Livengood, David Shepardson, Gary Heinlein, Christine Ferretti, Brian J. O’Connor, Detroit News, for “Bankruptcy and Beyond.”
A compelling in-depth read that, long after the headlines, truly fosters understanding of the circumstances and scope of Detroit’s stunning circumstances. The stories explain a complex, often dry topic even for business journalists – municipal bankruptcy – in a clear, riveting series the judges found a truly excellent read.
NEWSPAPERS EXPLANATORY, Division 2
Finalist- Adam Belz, Star Tribune, for “Left Behind.”
Several newspapers submitted commendable packages of stories focusing on the plight of the unemployed and underemployed. This series stood out for its detailed reporting and strong narrative writing.
Finalist- Jay Greene, Susan Jouflas, Kelly Shea, Mark Watanabe, Seattle Times, for “Amazon’s European Culture Clash.”
A smart series of stories on the challenges facing a major local employer in its European businesses. From the lead story’s first lines, describing the challenges facing a Parisian bookseller who plies his trade on the banks of the Seine, we were hooked.
Winner- Lillian Thomas, Sean D. Hamill, Kevin Crowe, Allan James Vestal, Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for “Poor Health.”
In a competitive field brimming with strong entries, this collaborative effort between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stood out. From its genesis to execution, this series surpassed the competition and made our selection for the top prize an easy choice.
NEWSPAPERS EXPLANATORY, Division 3
Finalist- Jennifer Levitz, Jon Kamp, Tom Burton, The Wall Street Journal, for “Deadly Medicine.”
WSJ reporters shone a light on just how badly medical care can be delivered and the consequences of surgeons not re-thinking standards of care. This revealing series had huge impact: Surgeons are no longer using this device for hysterectomies and tumor removal, saving lives.
Winner- Matt Richtel, Sabrina Tavernise, The New York Times, for “The New Smoke.”
This powerful series tackled the thicket of health and regulatory issues around e-cigarettes, demystifying and humanizing an industry boom with major public health implications.
NEWSPAPERS FEATURES, Division 1
Winner- Sarah Kleiner Varble, The Virginian-Pilot, for “Then the walls closed in.”
Deftly written after what was clearly a great deal of reporting. Intensely readable — the length was barely noticeable because the narrative was so compelling. The storytelling strategy was unusual — saving the “nut” until the end of the first story — but effective.
NEWSPAPERS FEATURES, Division 2
Winner- Adam Belz, Star Tribune, for “Left Behind.”
A great job mixing strong anecdotes with nuanced data analysis, accessible graphics and intimate photography. Editors were disciplined in keeping the series from sprawling. The team paid special attention to spotlighting differences between this recession and past slumps, backing their reporting with data that demonstrated it’s more severe this time around for key demographic groups.
NEWSPAPERS FEATURES, Division 3
Winner- Nathan Bomey, John Gallagher, Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press, for “How Detroit was Reborn.”
This is a fascinating, fast-paced story that grips you from the opening sentence and walks you through the complex maze of bankruptcy proceedings without losing you even for one moment. The reporting is spot-on, and the writing vivid and entertaining, making the arcania of the bailout easy to understand. It had just the right amount of color and some nice human touches that made it come alive without allowing it to become trite. And the tick-tock pacing of the story is as riveting as you’ll ever find. Finally, we want to acknowledge the sheer amount of work that went into this story, and to commend the Detroit Free Press for its commitment to long-form features and the value they bring to the human experience.
NEWSPAPERS GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 1
Finalist- Paul Delean, Lynn Moore, François Shalom, Mick Côté, Steve Faguy, Jeff Heinrich, Tracey Lindeman, Susan Semenak, The Gazette (Montreal Quebec)
The Montreal Gazette’s entries were well-reported, crisply designed, fun to read and full of flair. The profile of a 95-year-old local business titan was fascinating and surprising — and shows that even a story about industrial valves can be a compelling read when the reporting is thorough and the presentation is sharp. The piece about the investing lessons you can learn from combing your hair was fresh and made us all laugh.
Winner- Lynn Hicks, Donnelle Eller, Patt Johnson, Joel Aschbrenner, Matthew Patane, Marco Santana, Charles Flesher, The Des Moines Register
The Des Moines Register’s entries shone with resourceful reporting, sharp writing, keen analysis and creative visual presentation. They brought home the human drama of business with sensitive portrayals of the individuals at the heart of stories,both large and small, global and local. And, like all good journalism, the stories swept out from the particular to the general, enlightening readers on the larger issues raised by the battle against “superweeds,” the crosscurrents of agriculture in China and Iowa, and the tragic murder of a local football coach. The judges felt unanimously that the Register’s submission was far and away the best of all the entries. Future entrants could benefit from studying what made it stand out.
NEWSPAPERS GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 2
Winner- Business News Staff, Star Tribune
The Star Tribune covered an impressive range of stories with a thoroughness that stood out among the entrants. From the deep dive into the botched rollout of Minnesota’s health exchange to the surprising look at the dangers of ATVs and the layoffs at Target, they investigated issues of intense regional interest. The staff also found the local angle in important national stories, such as the booming and erratic elder-care business and the struggle of single parents. The quality of the work was consistently high and would be impressive for a paper of any size.
NEWSPAPERS GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 3
Winner- The Wall Street Journal staff, The Wall Street Journal
Yes, the Wall Street Journal can extensively cover a big story from all angles and explain its significance. Yet these four entries also showcase an energetic and engaging mix of spot-news coverage, enterprise journalism and analysis of what matters most in business, finance and investing. If you are a news consumer who cares about business and the impact of business on people’s lives — for good or for bad — then these entries are your must-read above all others. Secondary and even tertiary inside stories could proudly anchor the business section front of any major metro daily. World-class photo editing and deceptively simple headline-writing work together with a one-two punch in examples like Saudi women being Uber’s most dedicated customer base or an Ebola fever outbreak sending commodity prices soaring. An infographic explaining the market share dynamics of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable is boldly executed and much more visually driven than most others’ attempts at such tale-telling. The people coverage excels, whether it’s a profile or simply an anecdote in a larger story. A reader closes the last page feeling so much smarter about business and finance. And those stock, bond and fund tables at the end actually offer useful information to investors beyond the latest closing prices.
NEWSPAPERS INVESTIGATIVE, Division 1
Finalist- Josh Salman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, for “Selling Hope.”
Josh Salman delivered a compelling, ambitious project on the predatory behavior in the foreclosure market, relying on extensive databases, court records and on-the-ground reporting about the victims of rescue scams. He named those responsible for selling false hope, detailing the elaborate legal maneuvers that damage both lenders and consumers. The presentation was impressive, featuring an interactive database of schemes in Florida and several insightful graphs.
Winner- John Russell, Steve Berta, The Indianapolis Star, for “Pets at Risk.”
The series took a long-overdue look at the dangers and conflicts-of-interest in the fast-growing veterinary drug industry. The Star showed that companies are essentially experimenting on our family dogs with medications that receives little government-sanctioned testing or oversight. The Star documented inappropriate payments to prescribing vets, who act as a sales force for drug companies — subjecting owners to outrageous mark-ups and protecting themselves from legitimate competition from discount retailers. The hypocrisy of drug companies touting the value of companion animals while paying a pittance to bereaved dog owners was especially compelling. It was masterfully written, weaving stories of devastated families with tales of the industry. After poring over the photos of dead dogs, you’ll be much more wary when you visit the vet.
NEWSPAPERS INVESTIGATIVE, Division 2
Finalist- Mike Wereschagin, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, for “The Invisible Threat.”
An ambitious and comprehensive expose of the unseen danger of deteriorating natural gas pipelines in the paper’s local area, and across the country. The stories showed impressive and persistent reporting that in some cases gathered more information than many regulators had. Even more ominous, the series revealed that there are tens of thousands of miles of aging pipeline that don’t appear on any map. The paper did a convincing job illustrating how the fracking boom has exacerbated the situation, by vastly increasing traffic in the most dangerous and least regulated part of the pipeline system. An interactive map gives a powerful overview of the issue.
Winner- Christine Willmsen, Lewis Kamb, Justin Mayo, Garland Potts, Mark Nowlin, Marcus Yam, Mark Harrison, Jim Neff, The Seattle Times, for “Loaded with lead: How gun ranges poison workers and shooters.”
Very well done series on a topic I hadn’t seen covered before. Excellent, clear writing. Very good use of FOIA and the legal system to gather information. Obviously this wasn’t a completely fresh topic because many safety and health agencies had been concerned about lead at gun ranges before, but I doubt if anybody has taken such a comprehensive look.
NEWSPAPERS INVESTIGATIVE, Division 3
Finalist- Richard Marosi, Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times, for “Product of Mexico.”
The Los Angeles Times produced terrific reporting on the dark side of the human toll behind Mexico’s produce export boom, with the biggest U.S. supermarkets looking the other way in tacit complicity. The package included powerful visuals and text to reveal the exploitation in stunning detail.
Winner- Danielle Ivory, Rebecca R. Ruiz, Hiroko Tabuchi, Bill Vlasic, Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times, for “Fatal Flaws.”
The New York Times’ tenacious reporting and smart use of database research produced a memorable series that revealed failings by General Motors, suppliers and U.S. safety regulators on a deadly defect. The reporting included wrenching personal stories of families who had lost loved ones, and myriad red flags that were largely ignored as the death toll mounted. The stories had real impact, focusing the attention of lawmakers, regulators, and the public on the safety debacle, which led to millions of recalls and a personnel shakeup at the automaker.
MAGAZINES COMMENTARY, Division 1
Winner- Vitaliy Katsenelson, Institutional Investor, for his columns.
Vitaliy Katsenelson must have had a rollicking good time putting together these online columns. Although his first language is Russian and his second is Wall Street, he has mastered the art of conversational written English, using jokes, asides, and metaphors to convey serious information. The stock market, he writes, is like a person who was overdosed with Novocaine. For a column on Vladimir Putin he watched only Channel One Russia and read only Pravda for a week, concluding: “Russian TV is so potent that you would not even want to watch anything else.”
MAGAZINES COMMENTARY, Division 2
Winner- Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, for his columns.
We appreciate the deep reporting, context and analysis in Coy’s columns. Strong business journalism needs facts and data, but it also needs to be accessible. Not only do these columns have all three in spades, the data is easily digested in the text and in the visuals. Some columns offer advice but fail to explain how to implement it, leaving readers with more work to do. Though Coy’s columns are not advice columns, they educate and inform thoroughly, leaving the reader without the need to do more “homework.”
MAGAZINES EXPLANATORY, Division 1
Finalist- Frances Denmark, Institutional Investor, for “Life, Death & the Numbers.”
A deeply reported and wide-ranging story about the trillion-dollar hole facing pension plans as people live longer than expected. Explanation of a complex issue, and possible solutions, was balanced and thorough.
Winner- Margarida Correia, Lee Conrad, Bank Investment Consultant, for “Dementia.”
Thoughtful, clear explanation of legal and privacy dilemmas facing investment advisors as clients lose ability to recall, analyze and judge. Timely story told with compassion. Enjoyed the tips for advisors dealing with families, too.
MAGAZINES EXPLANATORY, Division 2
Finalist- Janet Bodnar, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, for “Starting out/Guide to your money: How millennials can get ahead.”
Winner- Allan Sloan, Fortune, for “Positively Un-American.”
Stunning article on companies “leaving” the U.S. and the billions they save in U.S. taxes
MAGAZINES FEATURE, Division 1
Finalist– Hiten Samtani, The Real Deal, for “Doubling down on the Prince of Darkness.”
“Doubling Down on the Prince of Darkness” examined the friendly relationship between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York’s high-powered real estate interests — an ethically dubious situation that seems all the clearer when set against the contentious relationship the industry has developed with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The judges felt the reporter might have gone even further to break ground on how Cuomo and the real estate industry have forged mutually beneficial ties and to explore the potentially long-term consequences. Still, the story is scrupulously evenhanded: It explains that the governor doesn’t always serve the industry’s interests, just as the mayor isn’t always hostile to them. Overall, it builds a persuasive case that Cuomo’s ties to the real estate elite bears close watching.
Winner- Aaron Timms, Institutional Investor, for “The race to topple Bloomberg.”
“The Race to Topple Bloomberg” is an exhaustively researched study of the ferocious competition Bloomberg L.P. faces to maintain a leading role in the financial data market. It illuminates from multiple angles the question of “whether subsisting on the terminal alone will be enough to allow Bloomberg to defend its market dominance.”
MAGAZINES FEATURE, Division 2
Finalist- Gary Rivlin, The New York Times Magazine/ The Investigative Fund, for “The cold, hard lessons of Mobile Home U.”
We really enjoyed this one too. What we liked about it was the flat, non-judgmental way it approached some of the ethical knots at the heart of this business. It also had a really broad perspective, and used the business to talk about the large-structural changes in the US economy over time, which was really helpful.
Finalist- Parmy Olson, Forbes, for “Calling the American Dream.”
This story was a really colorful, detailed account of not only a landmark deal of 2014, but the characters who made it happen. It also sketched in really helpful backstory on the origins of Whatsapp, not to mention putting its astronomical growth into context. Very well done.
Winner- Tom Foster, Will Bourne, Inc., for “Along came Lolly.”
We really love this piece. It does so many things. First off, it fulfills a huge need for traditional business readers: Putting forward ideas about boosting revenue.
But it does a ton more. It’s got a compelling—and female!—character at the core. It has really big sweep, touching on large-scale economic trends like deindustrialization, inequality and retail supply chain dynamics, among other things.
And it’s beautifully written:
“If traditional garment manufacturing is a pretty straightforward assembly-line affair, the seamstresses at Lolly work more like short-order cooks in a diner where the menu changes daily.”
MAGAZINES GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 1
Winner- Paul Jackson, Jacob Gaffney, HousingWire
The judges felt the magazine did a good job of breaking the news into digestible parts and incorporating politics into the subject matter, as well as good diversity throughout. The editors and reporters landed some great interviews, and had a good blend of longer, more indepth pieces with quick, usable information on people in the business. The layout is full, yet approachable. Nice read!
MAGAZINES GENERAL EXCELLENCE, Division 2
Winner- Josh Tyrangiel, Bloomberg Businessweek
MAGAZINES INVESTIGATIVE, Division 1
Winner- David Beal, Sarah Lutman, Twin Cities Business, for “Whose legacy is it?”
The “Legacy Fund” is by far my favorite story in this category. Its localization is so relevant and its angle is fresh and well defined. The magnitude of research and reporting that was used for this succinctly detailed investigative story is very impressive. And despite the scale of the data in the story’s background, readers are not overwhelmed. Rather, they are drawn into a rich telling of how state funding and appropriations can be carelessly left unchecked so that one organization benefits from money that was supposed to be earmarked for public good. While this sort of mishandling of public dollars is not new, this publication packages this issue in a context suitable for its readers.
MAGAZINES INVESTIGATIVE, Division 2
Winner- Ann Marsh, Scott Wenger, Kamrhan Farwell, Financial Planning, for “Could financial planning help stem the rate of military suicides?”
Financial Planning’s extraordinary 11-month investigation debunked a tragic myth about military suicide. Rather than resulting from combat trauma, many deaths actually are linked to financial stress. The richly-reported story also showed, with detailed anecdotes, how the Pentagon made the problem worse with policies that blocked distressed soldiers from receiving critical financial help and punished financial planners who tried to provide help anyway. A month after publication, congressional legislation based on the article was drafted and later passed to address the myriad financial problems faced by soldiers and reservists. A very worthy public service.
WEEKLIES BREAKING NEWS
Finalist- J.K. Wall, Indianapolis Business Journal, for “IU Health Merging Hospitals.”
This good old-fashioned scoop helped put important community news before readers in a timely way, while addressing questions and implications of a major change in the local health-care sector.
Winner- Albert Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, for “Poor families use ‘supervouchers’ to rent in city’s priciest buildings.”
This well-executed scoop had impact and led competitors. By staying with the story, Crain’s helped bring about needed change.
Finalist- Joe Cahill, Crain’s Chicago Business, for his columns.
Winner- Mike Hendricks, The Business Review (Albany,NY), for his columns.
Mike Hendricks’ columns for the Albany Business Review stood out because they’re full of informed commentary, backed up by on-the-ground reporting. He shows a real understanding of — and concern for — his subjects. The “human element” is always in the foreground. His writing is lively, polished and engaging, and his choice of subjects shows a keen eye for what makes a good commentary.
Finalist- Dennis Domrzalski, Dan Mayfield, Tina Orem, Rachel Sams, Damon Scott, Rachel Baca, Chan Avery, Randy Siner, Albuquerque Business First, for “Reinventing our City.”
A clearly written and compelling call to arms to save an economy ravaged by cutbacks in federal spending and the failure to develop a thriving private sector. Illuminating numbers and statistics were brought to life by real world examples and thoughtful quotes. An impressive use of resources to involve the community in finding ways to expand the local economy.
Finalist- E.J. Schultz, Advertising Age, for “Whatever happened to the ad war on drugs?”
A revealing behind the scenes look at what happened to an iconic ad campaign and the surprising efforts to resuscitate it.
Winner- Bill King, David Bourne, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, for “Soccer’s Growing Reach.”
A financial and sociological exploration of the history of soccer in the U.S. with an eye towards explaining why the sport is poised to finally become a meaningful commercial entity in America. Artfully balanced with colorful scenes of fans, expert commentary and telling data.
Finalist- Kate Kaye, Advertising Age, for “A Data Lab Rat in the Big City: Why trackers couldn’t trap this city dweller.”
The creativity involved in this piece is a delight, as is the cleverness of its approach. Don’t we all wonder what companies do with all that data they gather on us? The piece nicely answers the question, giving us a few chuckles along the way, and may make readers pause and think about their use of loyalty cards, reward points and online access points.
Finalist- Bill King, Tom Stinson, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, for “Man of Steel.”
This piece is well reported and gracefully written. It can hold a reader’s attention even if the reader is not a sports fan. It puts us inside the room of negotiations with the team owners, for instance, and illustrates the scramble to pull together financing to maintain family control in a rare look at what it’s like to be a pro-ball team owner.
Winner- Mike Hendricks, The Business Review (Albany,NY), for “The other side of Mohawk Harbor.”
This piece is wonderfully written, using a narrative approach with a clear thread based on the company’s founders. We come to understand their passion for steel and their commitment to the region. The story also demonstrates a classic conflict motif, pitting two little guys against the push of national developers more interested in ROI and the siren lure of casino gambling than in the community’s sense of self. It nicely portrays the struggle to revive a declining American city and the tension between new development and old-school commerce.
WEEKLIES GENERAL EXCELLENCE
Finalist- Matthew Kish, Malia Spencer, Wendy Culverwell, Elizabeth Hayes, Jon Bell, Mason Walker, Andy Giegerich, Brandon Sawyer, Craig Spencer, Cathy Cheney, Steve Burton, Erik Siemers, Suzanne Stevens, Portland Business Journal
This publication deserves recognition for reporting on why Portland statistically has tightest market for commercial space in the country, with tech companies banging on the door to move in, and how an endless Superfund cleanup has tied up the best option for changing that.
Finalist- Staff, Advertising Age
It gives you the feeling you have to read every story. Consistently in front of trends across old and new media.
Winner- Greg Andrews and staff, Indianapolis Business Journal
The IBJ’s innovation and moxie shot it to the top of this very competitive category over publications with significantly more resources. The Interviews special section was an incredible surprise. The interviews were diverse and edgy — nothing puffy here — and they even pulled off doing one in the form of a cartoon. In another issue, the IBJ reported on an innovative hotel plan in the works, early talks by Indiana University to build a consolidated hospital, a public official’s license plate abuse, a young, well-connected tech entrepreneur iced out of a transit system contract, efforts by some executives to unplug while on vacation and the likely effect of the new NFL contract on the Colts’ finances; and for good measure, dared show empty seats at the sacred Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Another issue nailed a story of how a collections agency was being forced into bankruptcy because it wasn’t paying its own debts. Delicious.
Winner- Eric Martin, TradeWinds, for “Service Charge Included.”
The story is well-executed and in-depth, with a wide range of interviewees and good analysis.
It covers a significant topic, involving multiple shipping companies – in other words, has breadth. It questions the somewhat obscure practice of related-party payments, examining the potential for self-dealing and conflicts of interest.
The sums involved aren’t trivial (several public companies pay “hundreds of millions” a year in fees and other charges to private interests associated with company founders who are also top executives or directors at these companies).
Graphics showing the related-party payments at 10 major shippers are informative and easy to grasp.
The piece presents both sides of the story – some readers might say too even-handedly. Yet the article is so detailed that readers can decide for themselves whether the arrangements it describes are reasonable and ethical – or not.
RADIO/TV BEST SERIES OR INVESTIGATIVE
Winner- Nikhil Deogun, Mitch Weitzner, Phil LeBeau, Mary Noonan Robichaux, Wally Griffith, Deborah Camiel, Rich Gardella, Meghan Lisson, Jeff Pohlman, Meghan Reeder, James Segelstein, Michael Beyman, Christie Gripenburg, Patrick Ahearn, Rich Korn, Allison E. Stedman, Howard Ellis, Michael Sheehan, Steve Trevisan, Gary Vandenbergh, CNBC, for “Failure to Recall: Investigating GM.”
In Failure to Recall, CNBC examined General Motors’ inaction on faulty ignition switches in millions of its vehicles despite knowing about the deadly defect for a decade. From compelling victim accounts to evidence of a corporate cover-up, this documentary had it all. Phil LeBeau’s test drive of the 2007 Chevy Cobalt illustrated the problem in a way that only TV can. Failure to Recall rises to the level of award-winning journalism by informing the public, promoting change and improvement, and holding responsible parties accountable.
RADIO/TV FEATURE OR FIELD REPORT
Winner- Nikhil Deogun, Mitch Weitzner, Harry Smith, Mary Noonan Robichaux, Na Eng, Meghan Lisson, James Segelstein, Christie Gripenburg, Patrick Ahearn, Allison E. Stedman, Kelly Laudien, Richard Korn, CNBC, for “Marijuana in America: Colorado’s Pot Rush.”
CNBC’s “Marijuana in America: Colorado Pot Rush” went into great depth and breadth about the legalization of this once banned substance, with a variety of angles and information that no doubt surprised viewers nationwide.
It wove together myriad strains surrounding the legalization issue often missing from other stories, covering both the economic and social implications. Through interviews with business owners, employees, customers and government officials, it made full use of the visual medium with segments on edible marijuana products, the challenges of dealing with an all-cash industry and the mixed reaction by municipalities about legalization by profiling two neighboring towns with very different policies.
Finalist- Alison Fitzgerald, Jared Bennett, Center for Public Integrity, for “Florida’s Foreclosure Crisis.”
Center for Public Integrity reporters Alison Fitzgerald and Jared Bennett uncover the shocking story of Florida homeowners in foreclosure who become victims of a court system where judges are obsessed with disposing of cases – often with complete disregard for due process – all in the interest of clearing a case backlog. The reporters’ deep reporting through databases, trial transcripts and interviews unravels a broken judicial foreclosure system and tells a sad story of homeowners with nowhere to turn for help. The result led to an initiative to ensure judges follow federal regulations protecting homeowners. Fitzgerald and Bennett are applauded for bringing this important issue to the public.
Finalist- Daniel J. Sernovitz, Washington Business Journal, for coverage of Washington, D.C. real estate.
The Washington Business Journal’s Daniel J. Sernovitz sheds light on the intricate state of commercial real estate in Washington. From the glimpse at the collapse of the area’s largest electrical contractor to the chief executive of a commercial real estate data firm who wants to take over the digital world and attempts by the federal government to improve its leasing decisions, Sernovitz offers an insider view of the complicated world that few know about and even fewer understand.
Winner- Sarah Kleiner Varble, The Virginian-Pilot, for “Then the walls closed in.”
The Virginian-Pilot’s four-part series, “Then the Walls Closed in,” is the dramatic story of three families whose lives were ruined by Chinese-made toxic drywall in their homes. Real Estate reporter Sarah Kleiner Varble captured the terror and heartbreak the families endured as they slowly discovered the source of their pain was hidden deep inside the one place they trusted as safe. Varble leaves the reader with shock and disbelief not only at the suffering the families endured but the futile efforts they faced when they sought help. It was the clear winner in an extremely tough competition.
Finalist- Ruth Simon, Tom McGinty, Angus Loten, Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, The Wall Street Journal, for “The imbalance in small-business lending.”
Winner-Tiffany Hsu, Chris Kirkham, Los Angeles Times, for coverage of California small business.
Winner- Scot Mayerowitz, Associated Press
In judging the Social Media category, we looked for excellence in a body of work and found it in AP’s airline and travel reporter Scott Mayerowitz’s entry. His use of social media was highly interactive, kept his followers informed and used their feedback to develop more work, often big news stories on his beat. Mayerowitz’s posts also were entertaining and added value that went beyond the basic news story. In short, the entry speaks to all the things that social media represents. If you’re looking for a model for journalists effectively using social media, give his work a look.
Finalist- Jennifer Surane, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill for “General Cable getting cheaper beckons activists: Real M&A.” Published by Bloomberg News.
This comprehensive report on a publicly-traded cable manufacturer had an immediate impact; the company’s stock closed up on the day of publication. The reporter used a wide range of sources, including the Bloomberg terminal, to produce a well-rounded story about General Cable Corp.
Finalist- Jonathan LaMantia, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill for “Manhattan condos at half price reshape New York’s Harlem.” Published by Bloomberg News.
This is an excellent example of robust reporting, antidotes and use of statistics. I came away from reading this piece with a real Thursday April 23- Sunday 26understanding of what is driving gentrification in Harlem. The story was well written.
Winner- Brittany Elena Morris, Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication for “NAFTA is an empty basket for southern Mexico farmers.” Published by the Arizona Daily Star.
This detailed account of one farmer’s life in Mexico’s Chipas region brings home powerfully to readers the impact of NAFTA 20 years after its implementation. The reporter did a nice job of broadening the story with quotes from experts and trade data. The photograph of the farmer was an added bonus.
Finalist- Samantha M. Sabin, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, for “Sugar Baby.”
Great story with so many different threads. One sign of success is that I wished there had been more content presented, including some multimedia. Nevertheless there was excellent reporting and writing. A unique angle on a huge issue, namely sky-high tuition costs.
Winner- Daniel Bauman, Webster University, for “The costs and benefits of an elite college chess game.”
This is a remarkable series of stories overcoming difficult challenges and delivering true impact. The result is a story that deserves a national audience and recognition for the excellent work.
Finalist- Alex Kantrowitz, Advertising Age, for “Digital ad fraud.”
Taking on an issue that’gs received surprisingly little coverage in the business media, Ad Age’s Alex Kantrowitz decided to dig deep into the very expensive problem of digital advertising fraud. Kantrowitz explains schemes such as injection ads and URL masking and examines why it’s so hard to close the fraudsters down completely. The result is a detailed and immersive series that sheds needed light on the invisible fraud operations that pop a Target ad on a Walmart site, say, or a BMW ad on a site suspected of copyright infringement. We award Ad Age the third prize in the Technology category.
Finalist- The Wall Street Journal Staff, The Wall Street Journal, for “Open Sesame: Peering inside Alibaba.”
As Alibaba prepared for what would be the world’s biggest IPO in history, the Wall Street Journal was serving up its own impressive accomplishment. News organizations were saturating the media with coverage of Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma and his mega successful e-commerce site, but WSJ stood out for all the best journalistic reasons: outstanding explanatory journalism polished with engaging, concise writing; innovative, interactive graphics that lured readers in to click and learn; and investigative reporting that made an impact by revealing potential conflicts of interest that drew the attention of the SEC. We award WSJ the second prize in the Technology category.
Winner- Jennifer Gollan, Matt Smith, Adithya Sambamurthy, Michael Schiller, Amy Pyle, Robert Salladay, The Center for Investigative Reporting, for “Techsploitation.”
In its year-long investigative series “Techsploitation,” the Center for Investigative Reporting examined the plight of Indian tech workers seeking jobs through the U.S. government’s H1B visa program. Lured to America by the promise of lucrative tech jobs at top firms, the workers fall prey to deceitful labor brokers who then leave their victims in limbo as they wait for jobs that were supposed to be guaranteed on arrival and then coerce them into signing contracts that threaten – and deliver — super high penalty fees and lawsuits if they quit. CIR used stunning personal stories, deep investigative reporting and even a poignant graphic novel to clearly and vividly document this underworld of worker exploitation and failed regulation, forcing the administration to take notice. We award CIR the first prize in the Technology category.
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