Las Vegas Sun’s Allen and Richards win Goldsmith Prize

March 7, 2011

Alex S. Jones with Marshall Allen and Alex Richards.

Alex S. Jones with Marshall Allen and Alex Richards.

March 7, 2011 — The $25,000 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting has been awarded to Marshall Allen and Alex Richards of the Las Vegas Sun by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy for their investigative report “Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas.”

After a two-year investigation, including the review of 2.9 million records, the Sun‘s five-part multi-platform series identified the preventable infections and injuries taking place in Las Vegas hospitals. Allen and Richards set out to impose transparency on Las Vegas hospitals so they would be held accountable. The multimedia presentation of their findings resulted in consumers having access to quality-of-care data that will help them make more-informed decisions.

“This extraordinary piece of work demonstrates the power of teaming high quality investigative journalism with imaginative and elegant multimedia representation. It is the future of news,” said Alex S. Jones, Director of the Shorenstein Center.

Launched in 1991, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting 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.
The five finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting were:

  • Jeff Gottlieb, Ruben Vives and The Los Angeles Times Staff
    “Breach of Faith”
    An investigation by The Los Angeles Times exposed widespread corruption in the tiny city of Bell, leading to multiple investigations, eight arrests, multimillion-dollar refunds for taxpayers and greater transparency about government salaries across California.
  • Laura Sullivan and Steven Drummond
    National Public Radio
    “Behind the Bail Bond System”
    In a three-part series examining bail in the United States, National Public Radio’s Laura Sullivan illuminated the powerful bail-bond industry and found that it hurts defendants, their victims and taxpayers. NPR’s reporting has been cited in county commission meetings in Florida and in the Statehouses in Virginia, Florida and North Carolina.
  • Jesse Eisinger, Jake Bernstein, ProPublica;
    Adam Davidson, Planet Money, National Public Radio;
    Ira Glass and Alex Blumberg, This American Life, Chicago Public Radio
    “Betting Against the American Dream – The Wall Street Money Machine”
    ProPublica, in collaboration with NPR’s Planet Money and Chicago Public Radio’s This American Life, revealed how the recession of 2008 was significantly deepened by the machinations of Merrill Lynch, Citibank and Magnetar, a little-known hedge fund. As a result, the SEC is investigating deals referenced in the series, and new rules are being implemented from the financial reform bill.
  • Karen de Sá of the San Jose Mercury News
    “Sponsored Bills in Sacramento: How Our Laws Are Really Made”
    Karen de Sá’s series provided the first comprehensive examination of the influences of outside interests in California lawmaking. As a result of her investigation, legislative leaders proposed rule changes, and outside groups are pushing for mandatory disclosure of all meetings between lawmakers and lobbyists and greater disclosure of campaign contributions from sponsors. There is also a ballot measure to repeal the term-limit law.
  • Dana Priest and William Arkin
    The Washington Post
    “Top Secret America”
    “Top Secret America” described a massive expansion of government created in response to 9/11 that has become so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it. The two-year-long project resulted in congressional investigations, a review of all intelligence programs requested by the Defense Secretary, and the CIA’s reduction of contract workforce.

The Goldsmith Book Prize is awarded to the best academic and best trade books that seek to improve the quality of government or politics through an examination of press and politics in the formation of public policy. The Goldsmith Book Prize for best academic book was awarded to:

  • Tim Groeling for When Politicians Attack: Party Cohesion in the Media
  • Patrick J. Sellers for Cycles of Spin: Strategic Communication in the U. S. Congress

The Goldsmith Book Prize for best trade book went to:

  • Jack Fuller for What Is Happening to News: The Information Explosion and the Crisis in Journalism

The Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism was given to Frank Rich, former op-ed columnist of The New York Times.

The Goldsmith Awards Program is funded by an annual grant from the Goldsmith Fund of the Greenfield Foundation.

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