Each year, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy awards the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting to a stellar investigative project that has had a direct impact on U.S. government, politics and policy at the national, state or local levels.
Six reporting teams were chosen as finalists for the 2023 prize, which carries a $10,000 award for finalists and $25,000 for the winner. The winner of the $25,000 prize will be announced at a public ceremony on March 15. (I had the honor of sitting on the judging panel this year, and I was gobsmacked by the quality, power and impact of the submissions.)
The Journalist’s Resource interviews the finalists for a behind-the-scenes look at the processes, tools and legwork it takes to create an important piece of investigative journalism. In this week’s newsletter, we’re sharing the first three pieces from our series “How They Did It: Reporting Tips from the 2023 Goldsmith Investigative Journalism Prize Finalists.” If you practice, teach or care about journalism, you’ll want to check them out.
Problems in the Federal Bureau of Prisons
“Start telling people ‘Hey, I’m interested in this topic,’” Sisak says. “People are going to come forward. People want to talk.” Read how they did it.
Clark Merrefield explains how Mississippi Today reporter Anna Wolfe revealed a $77 million welfare misspending scandal involving former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, former NFL quarterback Brett Favre and former professional wrestler Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase.
“We thought about Brett Favre as sort of a trapdoor into a story about public assistance in America, and the philosophy that leadership in Mississippi has about people living in poverty,” Wolfe says. Read how she did it.
Denise-Marie Ordway explains how Floodlight reporters Mario Ariza and Miranda Green teamed up with NPR’s David Folkenflik to uncover how two major power companies paid a consulting firm, Matrix LLC, to infiltrate the local media landscape in Florida and Alabama.
One key tip they shared: Use free online research tools such as Google Pinpoint to navigate lengthy documents.
Webinar: Conversation with finalists
Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter, where we’ll be sharing insights from the rest of the Goldsmith prize finalists. In the meantime, you can tune in today at 4 p.m. ET for an online conversation with the finalists, moderated by Shorenstein Center Director Nancy Gibbs. Register here for free.
Yours in knowledge,
Carmen Nobel, program director and editor-in-chief of The Journalist’s Resource