"The District's Lost Children,"The Washington Post, Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham, Sarah Cohen Judges' comments
Shining a light on the secretive child protection system, The Washington Post showed that 229 children died during a
seven-year period after dangers to them came to the attention of government workers. At least 40 of those children died
because workers failed to take key preventive action or because the children were placed in unsafe homes or institutions.
The project, which has resulted in wide-ranging reforms, answers the highest call of investigative journalism.
"Cops and Confessions and The Roscetti Case,"Chicago Tribune, Ken Armstrong, Steve Mills, Maurice Possley Judges' comments
Through painstaking research, the Chicago Tribune exposed a system of policing that extracts hundreds of faulty confessions
from murder suspects. Since 1991, at least 247 murder confessions in Chicago and Cook County have been thrown out by courts
or have failed to secure convictions. The paper revealed that in some cases, police obtained confessions from men who were in
jail at the time the crime occurred. Others who purportedly confessed were later cleared by DNA evidence. Stand-out journalism
in a category noteworthy for its strong entries.
"The Foreign Game,"Dayton Daily News, Christine Vasconez, Doug Harris, Mike Wagner, Russell Carollo Judges' comments
The Dayton Daily News started with a simple idea for a sports investigation: Take a look at a handful of local high
school athletes who came from foreign countries, several of them stars who had arrived under mysterious circumstances. Their
reporting, however, required two years of investigation and trips to 11 countries and revealed how foreign athletes unfairly
compete in this country. The series named names, revealing players, coaches, athletic directors and sports agents and resulted
in a federal criminal investigation of possible visa fraud and reforms to high school athletic rules.
Price Too High,"Pocono Record, Matt Birkbeck Judges' comments
Acting on a hunch, Pocono Record reporter Matt Birkbeck discovered a real estate fraud that was preying on
low-income and minority homebuyers. This well-crafted series exposed a scheme that that is now the subject of
"Trapped at Thirtymile,"Yakima Herald-Republic, Tom Roeder, Jesse A. Hamilton, Stephanie Earls Judges' comments
In-depth reporting and compelling storytelling on a catastrophic fire that resulted in the Forest Service re-writing
its own conclusions about the events that led to the deaths of four firefighters. The Yakima Herald-Republic
distinguished itself on a highly competitive story that gave readers important insights within weeks of the fire.
"Fallout,"SF Weekly, Lisa Davis & John Mecklin Judges' comments
In this exhaustive reporting effort, Lisa Davis reveals that a Bay-front
property about to be turned over by the Navy to the city of San Francisco
may be far more contaminated with radioactive waste than current cleanup
plans acknowledge. Davis spent 13 months on this highly technical
project, using thousands of pages of government documents - including
many declassified at her request - to show environmental problems
the Navy had apparently forgotten.
"The Osprey," CBS News 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace, Paul Gallagher, Charles Fitzgerald, Robert Zimet Judges' comments
60 Minutes detailed a pervasive plot to falsify records of a Marine
aircraft that had already claimed the lives of many Marines. The team from
60 Minutes relentlessly pursued the real story of the Osprey, contacting
every member of the Osprey unit in North Carolina. The reporting team
assembled evidence, including a key audiotape that captured a lieutenant
colonel instructing subordinates to lie about the Osprey's real record.
This expose came at a critical time when the government was about to put
this aircraft in to full production. The officer who instructed his
subordinates to lie was later relieved of his command, the Pentagon
launched an investigation and the U.S. Armed Services Committee held
hearings. And, of course, production of the Osprey itself was later halted.
There is little doubt this investigative report helped contribute to the
safety of Marines.
"Lives at Risk: An Emergency Room Investigation," WFAA-Dallas/Fort Worth, Valeri Williams, Meridith Schucker, Jesus Hernandez, WFAA Photography Staff, WFAA Graphics Judges' comments
Valeri Williams and WFAA-Dallas produced a riveting series of investigations
and convincing evidence of a doctor's involvement in the deaths of
patients at a county-funded hospital in Ft. Worth. Williams was relentless
in her coverage, battling a hospital more focused on punishing whistleblowers
than addressing the dangers raised by these reports. This was an outstanding
example of investigative reporting and commitment by a local television
"Burning the Evidence," American RadioWorks/Minnesota, Stephen Smith, Michael Montgomery, Bill Buzenberg, Deborah George, Adriatik Kelmendi Judges' comments
This American Radio Works investigation broke a major story on how Serbian forces, under the command of Slobodan Milosevic,
covered up war crimes by incinerating the remains of hundreds of ethnic Albanians in an industrial furnace. Painstaking
reporting included walking the shafts of the lead smelter to determine the final journey of hundreds slain, buried and later
moved by the Serbian security service. This courageous, chilling report is a model for original investigative reporting
"Fateful Harvest," HarperCollins, Duff Wilson Judges' comments Seattle Times reporter Duff Wilson's "Fateful Harvest" is set
in the small farming town of Quincy, Wash., but its tale will shock
communities across America: Chemical companies are slipping toxic
waste into fertilizer. Tainted with heavy metals, dioxins and radioactive
waste, the fertilizer is being spread on farms, yards and gardens
-with potentially disastrous results for unsuspecting farmers and
the public. Wilson brings readers along as he responds to a tip from
the town's mayor and takes on one of America's most powerful industries.
His book provides insights in the world of investigative reporting
as he unrelentingly, and ethically, pursues the truth, creating a
roadmap that will be followed by concerned citizens for years to come.
"Body of Secrets," Doubleday, James Bamford Judges' comments
The National Security Agency is so secretive that most reporters wouldn't
be able to produce more than a short story about its operations. But
in "Body of Secrets," James Bamford provides a compelling, 700-page
sequel to his award-winning "The Puzzle Palace," which won the IRE
book award two decades ago. Little-known Public Law 86-36 virtually
excludes the NSA from the Freedom of Information Act, but Bamford
found creative ways to persuade officials to declassify and release
thousands of pages of documents. He reveals the agency's mistakes,
such as concocting a plan, never implemented, to shoot down an empty
airliner over Cuba in 1962 and then accuse Cuba of downing a planeload
of students. There are many more revelations about the NSA's role
in the Cold War, Vietnam War and a growing worldwide eavesdropping
network that may help nab terrorists but also may threaten civil liberties.
With this work, Bamford upholds the ideals of FOIA - that citizens
ought to be able know what their government really is doing. Bamford
proves that even with America's most secretive agency, there's a place
for freedom of information.
"A Flood of Problems," MaryJo Sylwester, University of Missouri, for The Missourian (Columbia, Mo.) Judges' comments
A thorough and well-written report exposing problems with a local storm water permitting system, the consequences
for residents and why readers should care. Sylwester found that only half of recently approved subdivisions had
secured the necessary state permits. Her sophisticated reporting and smart use of data produced a noteworthy story.
on Campus," University of Connecticut Journalism Dept., Marcel
Dufresne, Christopher Collibee, Nora Decher, Luke Foster, Jason Gazsi,
Jennifer Grogan, Christina Hall, Jesse Lalime, Matthew Monks, Rochelle
Moore, Kristen Mullaney, Terrence Nguyen, Joy Pachla, James Rand,
Maggie Samways, Laura Tarpill, Greg Watterworth
"Bar None," Jennifer Dorroh, University of Maryland, for Capital News Service
"Wreck the Halls," Elizabeth McFadyen-Ketchum, Middle Tennessee State University, for Sidelines