Goldsmith Seminar looks at the future of reporting

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March 8, 2011, 9:08 am

Laura Sullivan of NPR speaks at the Goldsmith Seminar.

Laura Sullivan of NPR speaks at the Goldsmith Seminar.

March 8, 2011 — On the morning after the Goldsmith Awards Ceremony, the winners and finalists of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting gathered to discuss the stories behind the stories: the dedication, work and hard questions that went into each investigation.

The winners of the Goldsmith Prize, Marshall Allen and Alex Richards of the Las Vegas Sun, discussed their report, “Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas.” Also participating in the panel were the finalists: Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives of The Los Angeles Times, Laura Sullivan of National Public Radio, Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein of ProPublica; Karen de Sá of the San Jose Mercury News, and Dana Priest and William Arkin of The Washington Post. Alex S. Jones, Shorenstein Center director, moderated the discussion.

Much of the conversation centered on the issue of funding for investigative reporting. While the reporters all agreed that the work is important, they had different ideas about how it could be provided for in news organizations. Gottlieb said that after the Los Angeles Times‘ report on the city of Bell, advertisers were eager to support the newspaper. However, Eisinger and Bernstein described investigative reports as the “peas and carrots” that are necessary but not popular among readers, and so should be funded by a nonprofit organization. Sullivan stated that NPR is in “the fight of [its] life right now,” uneasy about the future of federal funding for public radio.

Read the transcript (PDF).

This article was written by Janell Sims, Shorenstein Center.
Photos by Martha Stewart.

Dana Priest (left) of The Washington Post and Karen de Sá of the San Jose Mercury News.

Dana Priest (left) of The Washington Post and Karen de Sá of the San Jose Mercury News.

Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb of The Los Angeles Times.

Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb of The Los Angeles Times.