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Reynolds Center Accepts Entries for Annual Barlett & Steele Awards in Investigative Business Journalism

June 2, 2020

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Entries are now being accepted for the 2020 Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, the nation’s top investigative business journalism contest.

The annual awards contest, named in honor of renowned investigative business journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, celebrates the best in investigative business journalism each year. It is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has devastated economies around the world, underscoring more than ever the need for deep and accurate coverage of business and the economy, Steele said.

“High-quality, in-depth business journalism has never been more important than now,” he said. “Outstanding fact finding and reporting will help our businesses, our employees and our communities navigate this difficult time.”

Gold, silver and bronze winners receive cash awards of $2,500, $1,500 and $500, respectively.

Last year, two separate entries received the Gold Award for coverage of the Food and Drug Administration’s granting of secret reporting exemptions to medical device makers in order to keep millions of reports of malfunctions and injuries out of the public eye. The award went to Kaiser Health News for Christina Jewett’s “Hidden Harm” series, which revealed the existence of exemptions and examples of malfunction, triggering an FDA response. The award was shared by investigative reporters working for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), NBC News and The Associated Press for the “Implant Files,” a series of stories that tracked regulatory response to the problem and dramatized patient safety consequences.

The 2019 Silver Award went to the staff of The Wall Street Journal for “PG&E: Wired for Failure,” which showed how PG&E Corp., the nation’s largest utility, left hundreds of thousands of people vulnerable to wildfires sparked by equipment that caused the deaths of 85 people. The Oregonian of Portland, Oregon, received the Bronze Award for its “Polluted by Money” series by reporter Rob Davis on how corporate cash has corrupted environmental goals of one of America’s greenest states.

Entries for the 2020 contest must be published between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. Editors or contest coordinators of media outlets may submit up to two entries, each containing up to four articles. Entries from freelance journalists are welcome but must be accompanied by a letter from an editor. The entry deadline is Aug. 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST. Contest rules and the entry form can be found here.

About Barlett & Steele
Barlett and Steele have worked together for more than three decades, first at The Philadelphia Inquirer (1971-1997), where they won two Pulitzer Prizes and scores of other national journalism awards, then at Time magazine (1997-2006), where they earned two National Magazine Awards, becoming the first journalists in history to win both the Pulitzer and its magazine equivalent. They are now contributing editors at Vanity Fair and at CNN’s new investigative reporting initiative.

About the Reynolds Center
In addition to the Barlett & Steele awards contest, the Reynolds Center at the Cronkite School provides journalists with training and resources to help them cover business. Since 2003, more than 22,000 journalists have benefitted from the center’s free training, much of which is available at businessjournalism.org.

For more information, contact Rian Bosse at rbosse1@asu.edu.