New York Times, USA Today and two N.C. Newspapers Win 2012 Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism

 New York Times, USA Today and two N.C. Newspapers Win 2012 Barlett & Steele
                 Awards for Investigative Business Journalism

PR Newswire

PHOENIX, Oct. 4, 2012

PHOENIX, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New York Times, USA Today
and a joint project by The Charlotte Observer and The (Raleigh) News &
Observer won gold, silver and bronze awards respectively in the sixth annual
Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, the Donald W.
Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism announced today.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120130/DC44180LOGO)

Named for the renowned investigative team of Don Barlett and Jim Steele, whose
numerous awards include two Pulitzer Prizes, these annual awards funded by the
Reynolds Center celebrate the best in investigative business journalism.

  o"Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart after Top-Level Struggle,"
    by David Barstow of The New York Times, received the top gold award of
    $5,000. Barstow obtained hundreds of confidential documents and
    interviewed important players in the company's internal inquiry. He
    discovered Wal-Mart had received powerful evidence that its Mexican
    executives used systematic bribery payments totaling more than $24 million
    to obtain zoning rulings and construction permits.

"Yet Wal-Mart never notified law-enforcement officials in the U.S. or Mexico
about the bribes," the judges said, noting their "astonishment" that the
firm's headquarters would cover up violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act.

  o"Ghost Factories," by lead reporters Alison Young and Peter Eisler of USA
    Today, received the silver award of $2,000. The series involved a 14-month
    investigation that revealed locations of more than 230 long-forgotten
    smelters and the poisonous lead they left behind. Reporters used handheld
    X-ray devices to collect and test 1,000 soil samples to prove there was a
    serious threat to children living in dozens of neighborhoods.

"As a result of their efforts, government officials in 14 states have reopened
flawed investigations, tested soil or taken other action to clean up
contaminated property," said the judges.

  o"Prognosis: Profits," by Ames Alexander, Karen Garloch, Joseph Neff and
    David Raynor, received the $1,000 bronze award for a joint project of The
    Charlotte Observer and The (Raleigh) News & Observer. Reporters dissected
    finances of large institutions through documents and sources to paint a
    compelling picture of nonprofit hospitals that function as for-profit
    institutions—often to the detriment of their care and charity missions.
    Discovered were inflated prices on drugs and procedures, lawsuits against
    thousands of needy patients and minimal charity care to poor and uninsured
    patients.

"All of that is in contrast to their large profit margins, billions of dollars
in reserves and top executives being paid millions," noted the judges.

Honorable mentions in this year's awards are, in alphabetical order:

  oBloomberg News, "The Fed's Trillion-Dollar Secret," by Bob Ivry, Bradley
    Keoun and Phil Kuntz.
  oChicago Tribune, "Playing with Fire," by Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and
    Michael Hawthorne.
  oReuters, "Chesapeake Energy," by Brian Grow, Anna Driver, Joshua Schneyer,
    Jeanine Prezioso, David Sheppard, John Shiffman and Janet Roberts.

"Cutting-edge, in-depth reporting on global ethics, environmental concerns and
health-care finances led the way in this year's competition," said Andrew
Leckey, president of the Reynolds Center. "The wide range of news
organizations and the diverse issues they probed underscored the fact that
investigative business journalism is operating at a high level."

The judges for this year's awards were Amanda Bennett, executive
editor/projects and investigations at Bloomberg News; Steve Koepp, editorial
director of Time Home Entertainment Inc.; and Paul Steiger, ProPublica's
founding editor-in-chief, president and CEO.

The awards will be conferred Jan. 3, 2013, during Reynolds Business Journalism
Week at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in
Phoenix.

Contact: President Andrew Leckey, Donald W. Reynolds National Center for
Business Journalism, 602-496-9186, or andrew.leckey@businessjournalism.org.

ABOUT THE REYNOLDS CENTER

Since 2003, more than 15,000 journalists have benefited from the Reynolds
Center's free training. Its mission is to help journalists cover business
better through in-person and online training and its website,
BusinessJournalism.org. It is part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
and Mass Communication on Arizona State University's downtown Phoenix campus.

The center is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a national
philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for
whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed over $115
million nationwide through its Journalism Program.

SOURCE Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism

Website: http://www.businessjournalism.org