Weekly Watchdog: Counting impact and awards

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It is always gratifying when the Center for Public Integrity’s investigative projects have a major impact AND win major award recognition.  That’s been happening a lot lately.

Most recently, our State Integrity Investigation—a corruption risk index for all 50 states—was named a finalist for the distinguished Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. This massive project has contributed to ethics reform efforts in 16 states so far, with more coming during this year’s legislative sessions.

The Goldsmith judges described the State Integrity project as "a wonderful blueprint for reporters all over the country to do enterprising stories on government." Produced in collaboration with Global Integrity and Public Radio International, this work has been written about in 1,500 other publications and been cited in more than 75 editorials. According to the Goldsmith Prize judges, the results of the State Integrity Investigation “include accelerated reform in government and an increase in disclosure requirements in many states.”

Meanwhile, the Center’s on-going Medicare project, “Cracking the Codes”, has just been recognized by Investigative Reporters and Editors with the singular 2012 Phillip Meyer Award for Precision Journalism. Phil Meyer is considered the godfather of Computer Assisted Reporting, or CAR. Our 21-month investigation examining nearly two terabytes of data unveiled for the first time how some medical professionals have billed Medicare at sharply higher rates and collected $11 billion in additional, questionable fees as a result. In the week after publication, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services  issued new warnings to the medical profession and launched new federal investigations.

I could go on to discuss two new awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers who have recognized the Center for Public Integrity as double winners of its 18th Best in Business competition, which honors excellence in business journalism across all news platforms. Their recognition went to “Skin & Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts” and “Fraud and Folly: The Untold Story of General Electric’s Subprime Debacle” which is part of our series on the Great Mortgage Cover-Up.

But you get the idea. Congratulations to all the Center reporters and editors engaged in this award-winning work.

Until Next Week,

Bill Buzenberg
Executive Director