Barlett & Steele winners announced

A podcast series on shocking abuse at Utah’s homes for troubled teens produced by a multiple-media team of journalists, and the Minnesota Star Tribune’s revelations of court-aided exploitation of accident victims, have taken top honors in the 16th Annual Barlett and Steele Awards for the Best in Investigative Business Journalism.

The inaugural award for Outstanding Young Journalist was claimed by Neil Bedi of ProPublica for an investigation into faulty mechanical heart pumps.

In addition to the first-ever Young Journalist award, this year marks the first time the Barlett and Steele Awards have recognized publications across two categories, Global/National and Regional/Local, to honor more of the outstanding business journalism being produced throughout the U.S. Each category features a Gold, Silver, and Bronze award. These awards come with cash prizes of US$3,000, US$2,000, and US$1,000 respectively. The Young Journalist award features a cash prize of US$3,000.

The Gold award in the Global/National category was won by a collaboration among American Public Media, Salt Lake Tribune, and KUER public radio, for their tenacious investigative work into the Utah government’s lackluster oversight of facilities housing troubled teenagers, resulting in widespread abuse. Their work resulted in a seven-part podcast series titled “Sent Away.”

Rounding out the Global/National category, the Silver award went to The Wall Street Journal for its investigation into federal judges’ hidden conflicts of interest. The Bronze was awarded to a team of reporters from Bloomberg for their revelations about questionable practices at a telemedicine startup.

In the Regional/Local category, the StarTribune won the Gold award for documenting how accident victims in several states were convinced to transfer their court-ordered compensation to other parties for a fraction of its value. In one case, StarTribune said, a mentally impaired car accident victim sold more than half a million dollars in future payments for $12,001.

The Silver award in the Regional/Local category went to a duo from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for a series on dangerous dwellings, while a team of reporters from The Palm Beach Post and ProPublica won the Bronze award for documenting harmful pollution by the sugar industry.

The Barlett & Steele Awards are administered by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The awards are named for the illustrious investigative business journalist team of Don Barlett and Jim Steele, who have worked together for more than four decades, receiving two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Magazine awards, and a long list of other journalism awards.

“This year’s winners are in the finest tradition of what these awards have come to represent — great reporting, fine writing and expert data analysis,” Steele said in a statement. “The winners are a testament to the value of in-depth reporting and how it benefits the public.”

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