PHOENIX, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Reuters received the gold award and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the silver award in the fourth annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism announced today.
"Diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Dropped by Insurer" by Murray Waas of Reuters received the top gold award of $5,000. A four-month investigation revealed that a giant health insurer had targeted policyholders recently diagnosed with breast cancer for aggressive investigations with the intent to cancel their policies. An exhaustive study of records, hearings and federal data, as well as dozens of interviews with experts, officials and patients led to the story.
"Reuters contrasted the upfront public stance of a health-care company and its CEO to the reality behind the scenes, revealing the insidiousness of gate keeping by software," said the judges. "This investigation led to government pressure and an industry-wide change in the practice of dropping health-care coverage for patients after they became sick."
"Side Effects: Money, Medicine and Patients" by John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel received the silver award of $2,000. The stories uncovered conflicts of interest that can compromise a doctor's judgment. An example was a surgeon receiving millions of dollars in royalties annually from a medical device company while serving as editor of a medical journal that published favorable research on the company's projects.
"The Journal Sentinel by revealing interwoven ties between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry prompted an inquiry by a U.S. Senate committee and led to sweeping changes at a major university school of medicine," said the judges, noting that the reporter poured over thousands of pages of medical literature, coursework and documents obtained through open records laws.
Named for the famed investigative journalist team of Don Barlett and Jim Steele, the awards celebrate the best in print and online investigative business journalism. They are funded by the Reynolds Center, which is located at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix.
Honorable mentions in this year's awards are, in alphabetical order:
"Goldman Sachs and the Housing Crash" by Greg Gordon, Kevin Hall and Chris Adams
Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Hounded: Debtors and the New Breed of Collectors" by Chris Serres and Glenn Howatt
"Inside the Health-Care Crucible: Reports from a Hospital in a Time of Upheaval" by Michael Vitez
"The Credit Trap" by Kathy Chu
"This was the strongest group of award entries the judges have encountered and clear indication that investigative business journalism is alive and well," said Andrew Leckey, president of the Reynolds Center. "Even though health care has been the subject of prolonged national debate, our award winners were able to tell us something we didn't know."
ABOUT THE REYNOLDS CENTER
The Reynolds Center is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
More than 10,000 journalists have benefited from the Reynolds Center's free training since 2003. The center's mission is to help journalists cover business better.
ABOUT THE CRONKITE SCHOOL
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is the home of the Reynolds Center. The Cronkite School, named for the long-time CBS news anchor, serves nearly 1,300 undergraduate and master's journalism students at its $71 million building opened on the downtown Phoenix campus in 2008.
For further information, contact: Andrew Leckey, president, Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, 602-496-9186 or [email protected].
SOURCE Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism