Investigative reporters who uncovered information about U.S. policy toward Iraq and who reported charges of sexual misconduct by a former senator were rewarded last night at the Kennedy School of Government with a prize of $25,000.
The second annual Goldsmith Awards were given to those achieving excellence in the fields of investigative reporting, book writing and media research.
The Goldsmith Awards "bring together the world of scholarship and the world of practice...enhancing the work of both," said Kennedy School Dean Albert Carnesale, who gave welcoming remarks. The awards are given under the auspices of the Kennedy School's Joan Shorentein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
The prizes for investigative reporting were awarded to Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas of The Los Angeles Times for their series on U.S. government policy toward Iraq, and to David Boardman, Susan Gilmore, Eric Nalder and Eric Pryne of The Seattle Times for their series on allegations of sexual misconduct against Brock Adams, a former senator from Washington.
The investigative reporting prizes were presented by Tom Wicker, columnist emeritus of The New York Times. "Investigative reporting represents individual enterprise in a craft that is moving inexorably towards mass effort," Wicker said.
While "the rush to be first still governs newspapers," Wicker said, journalists "should be concentrating on why [the news] happened, what it means, and perhaps what will happen in the future."
Boardman described the three and a half year process by which he and his team conducted their investigation. "We followed scores of rumors to dead ends," he said.
He discussed the reasoning behind their choice to run the story without disclosing the names of the alleged victims of sexual abuse and harassment.
Waas spoke on behalf of the L.A. Times team, explaining their efforts to expose "Iraqgate."
He stressed the inverse connection between domestic well-being and covert foreign policy.
"People have a right to know the secret history of how these [foreign policy] decisions are made in their name," Waas said.
Both Waas and Boardman spoke of seeing their careers flash before their eyes when their stories were initially met with hostility and skepticism.
Stipends of $10,000 were awarded to the new Goldsmith Fellows, Alison Carper of New York Newaday and Jorge Quiroga of WCVB-TV, Channel 5, Boston, to study at the Barone Center for a year.
The $5,000 book prize was awarded to Greg Mitchell for The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics.
Mitchell hailed journalists for having "encouraged voters to peer through the mud, into the real issues." He quoted Mark Twain, saying that "a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its boots."
Fifteen Goldsmith Research Awards, for excellence in journalism-related academic research, were also presented at the ceremony