The Shorenstein Center at Harvard has just announced the finalists for its annual $25,000 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting as well as a special citation for New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. I was one of five judges for this year's contest who examined almost 140 entries. And I can attest to the fact that it was a hell of a field. Here's the release:
CAMBRIDGE, MA - Six entries have been chosen as finalists for the 2006 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting awarded each year by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
The winner of the $25,000 prize will be named at an awards ceremony on March 14 at the Kennedy School. The Prize 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, or instances of particularly commendable government performance.
"This year's Goldsmith finalists represent not only resourceful and aggressive investigative reporting, but stories of vital importance to our nation," said Alex S. Jones, Director of the Shorenstein Center. "It is an honor to be honoring them."
The finalists for 2006 are:
1) Joshua Boak, James Drew, Steve Eder, Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Jim Tankersley and Mike Wilkinson
The Blade (Toledo, OH)
An inquiry into Ohio's curious investment in rare coins led to an investigation of what became a scandal of national dimensions, culminating in convictions of the Governor and others and exposure of illegal campaign contributions.
2) Marcus Stern and Jerry Kammer
Copley News Service
"Randy 'Duke' Cunningham"
Reporting by Stern and Kammer led to the resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) after they revealed Cunningham had taken $2.4 million in bribes.
3) Evelyn Larrubia, Robin Fields and Jack Leonard
The Los Angeles Times
"Guardians for Profit"
Their series exposed how a new breed of entrepreneur has entered the field of guardianship of the elderly and have victimized older Americans by charging them exorbitant fees, neglecting their needs and sometimes looting their assets.
4) James Risen and Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times
The Times revealed that the government was systematically tapping into international telephone calls and e-mail traffic in the U.S. without court warrants.
5) Susan Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith
The Washington Post
"The Abramoff Scandal"
Throughout 2005, in articles that broke the scandal's major revelations, the Post unraveled Abramoff's web and his ties to then-House Majority Leader Tom Delay.
6) Dana Priest
"The CIA's Secret War Against Terrorism"
Her series of articles have revealed the inner workings, successes and failures of the CIA's global effort to kill, capture and interrogate suspected terrorists, revealing the existence of a network of secret prisons outside the U.S.
A special citation will also be awarded to:
Nicholas D. Kristof
"The Genocide in Darfur"
Columnist Nicholas Kristof exposed the savagery plaguing Sudan that the world might not have otherwise seen. Through his dogged reporting, he is responsible for saving many thousands of lives.