March 13, 2007 — The 2007 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting was awarded to Charles Forelle, James Bandler and Mark Maremont of the Wall Street Journal. Using a combination of investigative reporting and scientific research the team revealed how, through “unethical manipulation,” top executives had amassed millions of dollars in stock options. The series led to a federal investigation of over 100 companies and forced many executives to step down.
The $25,000 prize is awarded each year for the story that best promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics in the United States at the national or local level.
This year’s keynote address was delivered by Goldsmith Career Award winner Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst for National Public Radio. “The power of the press has lost its meaning,” Schorr said, lamenting what he saw as the American public’s waning confidence in the news media. A repercussion of this development, he said, is that the public nowadays is less likely to rally on behalf of journalists who, citing the First Amendment, refuse to disclose their sources.
The Goldsmith Book Prize is awarded annually to two distinguished contributions to the field of press and politics — one academic and one trade. This year, in the academic category, the prize went to Diana C. Mutz, the Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. In Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy, Mutz argues that active participation in politics may be incompatible with a more deliberative approach.
In the trade category, Gene Roberts, former managing editor at the New York Times, and Hank Klibanoff, managing editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution won for their book, The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation, an account of how the press came to recognize the urgency of America’s civil rights struggle and their tenacity in exposing the story.
On March 17, the winners and finalists for the investigative reporting prize convened to discuss their particular investigations as well as the general state of investigative reporting. The finalists for the Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize were Walter V. Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Beth Healy, Francie Latour and Heather Allen of the Boston Globe; Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber of the Los Angeles Times; Debbie Cenziper of the Miami Herald; Ken Armstrong, Justin Mayo and Steve Miletich of the Seattle Times and Dan Morgan, Gilbert M. Gaul and Sarah Cohen of the Washington Post. Shorenstein Center Director Alex Jones moderated.
A special award was presented to the Center for Public Integrity, founded by former Shorenstein Fellow Chuck Lewis, for its contribution to public service.
This year’s ceremony marked the sixteenth annual presentation of the Goldsmith Awards, which promotes excellence in journalism and encourages debate about the relationship between politics and the news media.
The annual Goldsmith Awards Program is funded by the Greenfield Foundation.