2018 EFJ Award Winners
- Audio (Small Media): Jack Sweeney, host and creator of The CFO Thought Leader, wins for two episodes from The CFO Thought Leader podcast featuring Hubspot CFO, John Kinzer and a panel featuring five CFOs discussing their top metrics used to demonstrate the effectiveness of achieving major business objectives.
- Audio (Medium/Large Media): The Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Everything,” podcast produced an episode called, “In Bitcoin We trust?” that explored the cryptocurrency we know as Bitcoin and what caused the rise of this invention, how it works and its future. In the segment, they speak to crypto experts such as Paul Vigna, allowing listeners to learn how cryptocurrency will not only change the way we view technology, but also how it could possibly affect politics and institutions in the future.
- Enterprise Reporting: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other media partners, “The Paradise Papers.” Following a leak of secret documents from 21 sources, more than 90 media partners investigated and exposed hidden dealings of corporate giants such as Apple and Nike as well as secret deals made by tax-evading criminals and prominent politicians and their supporters. The investigation and exposure caused governments and corporations all over the world to open tax investigations.
- General Reporting: Michael Grabell and Howard Berkes, ProPublica, for “Sold for Parts.” Grabel focuses on a chicken processing plant know as Case Farms, and its work practices, taking advantage of underage and undocumented immigrants, illegally hiring them to work in dangerous conditions and firing them if they protested or were injured on the job. Following this exposure, Grabel partnered with Berkes from NPR to analyze 14 years of Florida insurance data to expose how employers and insurance companies were using a state law to get out of paying workers compensation benefits to injured, undocumented immigrants.
- Infographic: Bloomberg News’ Matt Townsend, Jenny Surane, Emma Orr and Christopher Cannon, for, “America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just the Beginning.” Through many interactive data visualizations the Bloomberg News team illustrates the high amount of debt that retail companies own and how it affects the retail industry and the future of the economy.
- Local and Public Service Reporting: Jason Grotto, Ray Long and Sandhya Kambhampati from ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune, for their four-part series exposing Cook County’s unfair property tax assessment system in, “The Tax Divide.” For two years, Grotto and his team studied the system, analyzing more than 100 million digital records and interviewing dozens of experts, attorneys and property owners. They found errors and discrepancies in tax assessments that punished poor home owners and small businesses in Chicago while giving the wealthy unsanctioned tax breaks and lining the pockets of politically connected tax attorneys.
- Opinion: Thomas Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, for a series of opinion pieces focusing on the Wells Fargo sales fraud scandal that broke in 2017. The series included an analysis of the bank’s leadership team, its cross marketing strategies and how these unethical practices began well before 2017, dating back to 1998, when it merged with Norwest.
- Video (Large): The Weather Channel Digital and InsideClimate News teamed up for, “Killing Clean: The Playbook to Destroy Clean Energy.” In this video, they discuss the clean energy revolution and how Ohio lawmakers flipped their positions on an issue they once supported. In 2008, Ohio passed an alternative energy mandate designed to adopt the use of solar and wind energy sources for electricity in the state, which helped create jobs, turn profits, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Fast forward to 2017, most of those lawmakers who supported the mandate now opposed it. To find out why, the Killing Clean team investigated coal companies, utilities, think tanks, nonprofit foundations, and political action committees that mobilized to rollback clean energy initiatives one state at time.
- Video (Medium Media): Fusion TV’s The Naked Truth, “Debt Trap.” An inside look of America’s student debt crisis. The investigation discuss the causes including the rise in tuition and government disinvestment as well as the public and private entities that helped cause the problem.
- Excellence in Financial Journalism Book Award: Jesse Eisinger, “The Chickenshit Club.” Eisinger offers an inside look at the U.S. Justice Department and why, following its prosecution of executives at Enron and WorldCom for financial fraud in the early 2000s, it failed to prosecute executives responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.
2017 EFJ Award Winners
- Audio: Gimlet Media’s podcast, StartUp, for “Dov Charney’s American Dream,” a seven-part documentary series about the founder and former CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, and the rise and fall of his career due to the scandal of sexual harassment allegations and unethical business practices that caused him to be forced out of the company in 2014.
- Enterprise and Public Service: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, McClatchy, Miami Herald, and other media partners, for publishing one of the largest journalism investigations in history, “The Panama Papers.”
- General Reporting: Kimberly Lankford, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for, “Making a Plan for a Special-Needs Child.” Lankford comprehensively explains strategies and resources through the experiences of real families with special-needs children.
- Infographic: Nicole Bullock and Joanna S. Kao, from Financial Times, examine what Silicon Valleys’ “unicorns” will have to face to go public in “Unicorns face tough road to Wall St.”
- Local: Cezary Podkul, Marcelo Rochabrun, and Derek Kravitz from ProPublica, and Will Parker from The Real Deal, for “The Rent Racket.” Podkul and Rochabrun address New York’s real estate industry and the secret deals that undermine legal protections for New York tenants.
- Opinion: Rex Nutting, Marketwatch for a series of opinion pieces from his “Money and Power” column, including an analysis on the fall of the American middle class and what contributed to its economic instability.
- Video: Ashlee Vance, from Bloomberg Businessweek, for “Hello World,” a video series focusing on the technology scene around the world. In 2016, Vance visited 10 countries on five continents to find out how inventors, scientists, and technologists from different cultures are shaping the future of technology.
- Excellence in Financial Journalism Book Award: Robert J. Gordon, “The Rise and Fall of American Growth.” Gordon discusses post-Civil War American between 1870 and 1970, and its economic revolution through the inventions of electric lighting, indoor plumbing, air travel, and medical advances.
2016 EFJ Award Winners
- Beat News Reporting: Beth Kowitt, Fortune, for “The War on Big Food.” Kowitt addresses Big Food’s multibillion-dollar challenge as more consumers demand unprocessed ingredients in their food.
- Explanatory: David Enrich, The Wall Street Journal, for “The Unraveling of Tom Hayes.” Enrich tells the story of Tom Hayes, a 33-year-old former banker/trader accused of masterminding a global conspiracy as a way to manipulate interest rates.
- Independent or Affiliated Online Story (Medium to Small): The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Huffington Post and other media partners, for their investigative series, “Evicted and Abandoned,” which featured more than 80 journalists internationally who uncovered abusive business practices linked to dams, gold mines and other projects financed by United States’ top development lender, the World Bank.
- Commentary: Susan Antilla, TheStreet, used her solid reporting and analytical skills in, “Wall Street Has a Unique Way of ‘Protecting’ Small Investors,” as she exposed Wall Street for its efforts to avoid change that could possibly improve access to stockbroker records.
- Personal Finance: Kimberly Lankford, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, for “Get the Most out of Medicare.” Lankford’s work comprehensively explained Medicare as a guide to help readers navigate the system, avoid mistakes and make sure they are signed up for everything that they need.
- Radio/Online Digital Audio: Cardiff Garcia, Aimee Keane and Shannon Bond of the Financial Times are recognized for launching “Alphachat,” the Financial Times’ weekly business and economics podcast in which they cover topics about rebalancing the Chinese economy, the impact of automation on the labor market, as well as the divergence between the policies of major central banks.
- Independent or Affiliated Online Story (Large): Heesun Wee, from CNBC.com, for the multimedia package, “How China is changing your dinner plate.” Wee discovered that Pete Olsen, a dairyman from Fallon, Nevada, managed and led the building of a new manufacturing plant from the ground up to produce dairy products primarily for export to overseas markets, including China.
- Investigative: Michael Smith and Esme E. Deprez, from Bloomberg News, for “The Coyotes and the Banks.” Smith and Deprez dug into the $10 billion-a-year human-smuggling business to find the coyotes’ bankers of choice: Wells Fargo, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Television/Online Digital Video: No winners were selected in this category.
- Excellence in Financial Journalism Book: No winners were selected in this category.
2015 EFJ Award Winners
- Beat News Reporting: Awarded to Allan Holmes and Center for Public Integrity, for the complex series of articles, "Wireless Companies Fight for their Futures," that exposed how telecommunications companies use lobbying and hired experts to stifle competition, and protect their own interests and profits instead of the public.
- Commentary: Awarded to Allan Sloan of Fortune for his persuasive narrative in a cover story that raised public awareness of corporate tax inversions titled, "Positively Un-American Tax Dodges."
- Explanatory: "How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States with Billions in Toxic Debt" - Awarded to Cezary Podkul of ProPublica for his reporting and writing about a little understood financial debacle created by state and local governments who borrowed against their share of the Big Tobacco legal settlement turning a multi-generational windfall into a multi-generational legacy of debt.
- Investigative: "The Lure of Forex" - Awarded to David Evans of Bloomberg for his meticulous research, reporting and writing about a sophisticated international “get rich” investing scheme, involving people from 140 countries that lost or stole more than $1 billion.
- Independent or Affiliated Online Story (Medium to Small Media; circulation or daily online visitors of less than 200,000): "Medicare Advantage Money Grab" - Awarded to Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin and Chris Zubak-Skees of the Center for Public Integrity for their year-long reporting and six-article analysis of how Medicare Advantage plans have become wasteful due to billions of dollars in overcharges and suspect billings.
- Personal Finance Story: "Florida’s Foreclosure Crisis" - Awarded to Center for Public Integrity’s Alison Fitzgerald and Jared Bennett for a series of stories that explained how Florida’s judicial foreclosure system is broken and has denied homeowners any negotiating means or rights to save their homes and given lenders all the advantages.
- Radio or Online Digital Audio: "Fall Down, Turnaround: Pivotal Moments in American Business" - Awarded to Carole Zimmer of Bloomberg News for a two-part series that examined how companies handle crises that damage their brands or bottom lines; and reported on how key transitional moments and decisions made the difference between sinking fortune or painful recovery.
- TV or Online Video News: Awarded to Eleanor Bell and Daniel Wagner of the Center for Public Integrity for, "Time is Money," an enlightening documentary that explains how financial companies have become central players in a multi-billion dollar economy that shifts the costs of mass incarceration onto the families of prison inmates and thus boosting the private companies profits.
- Excellence in Financial Journalism Book: Awarded to Paul Barrett for "Law of the Jungle" (Crown Publishing Group) which recounts the 20-year journey and courtroom battle of Steven Donziger, a former journalist and self-styled social activist, and his relentless fight to defeat oil giant Chevron to win the largest environmental damages award in legal history.
2014 EFJ Award Winners
Print & Online:
- Trade Press Category – News/Investigative: David Evans, Bloomberg Markets, for “Fleeced by Fees.” Even as Wall Street has found countless ways to trick and profit excessively from its customers, the fees charged by managed futures funds are outrageous by all standards— and hidden.
- Trade Press Category – Features: Janet Hewitt, Mortgage Banking Magazine, for "That Other American Dream” an in-depth look at the senior management and business strategy behind Ellie Mae, a unique company in the mortgage technology field that has found a way to be a success story in the face of epic headwinds.
- Trade Press Category – Opinion: Kenneth Silber, Research, for “Who’s Kidding Whom?” a piece that focused on the risks of financial advisors "living in a bubble" and filtering out adverse information about public opinion and the political climate.
- Consumer Press Category – News/Investigative: Cam Simpson, Bloomberg Businessweek, for “Stranded” which follows the incredible tale of 1,500 Nepalese men as they are recruited in their homeland by job brokers who charge fees for the service, then flown to Malaysia where they’ll work at a Flextronics plant assembling cameras for the new phone.
- Consumer Press Category – Features: Peter Elkind and Doris Burke, Fortune, for “Amazon’s (Not So Secret) War on Taxes,” where the pair reveal how Jeff Bezos' company successfully battled to preserve his company online sales-tax exempt status by demanding, wheedling, suing, threatening, and negotiating—and how new alliances and strategies among Amazon's enemies finally began turning the tide.
- Consumer Press Category – Opinion: Dan Primack, Fortune, for “Where is Calpers’ Governance When You Need It?”. As Primack discusses private equity, venture capital, Wall Street, mergers and acquisitions, and other deal-related topics, he chides the corporate watchdog for its complicity in allowing a third-party “placement agent” to channel Calpers’s investments toward a private equity fund, all the while portraying itself as an unwitting victim.
- Category – Segment Running 10 Minutes or Less: Richard Quest, CNN International - In the summer of 2013 Richard Quest traveled to Texas to investigate both the day-to-day work of fracking and its long-term economic impact.
- Category – Segment Running More than 10 Minutes: Scott Cohn, CNBC, for “Critical Condition: Saving America’s Cities,” the historic bankruptcy of the city of Detroit in 2013 was not an isolated incident. As this series shows, no major city is without at least some of the same issues that sent Detroit over the edge.
- Category – Segment Running 10 Minutes or Less: Alisa Parenti with producer Tracy Johnke, Marketwatch.com Radio for “Housing on Fire: Tips for Buyers and Sellers” - As the housing market started to heat up again, Parenti and Johnke had a very simple goal: To help buyers and sellers maximize their positions in the finally-improving real estate market.
- Category – Segment Running More than Ten Minutes: Gordon Deal, Wall Street Journal This Morning, for a 16-day segment series that decoded the government shutdown’s impact on real people, the economy and business.
- Book – Business/Financial: Gregory Zuckerman wins for the book, “The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the Billionaire Wildcatters,” which discusses a new drilling process called fracking that has made the U.S. the world’s fastest-growing energy power, on track to pass Saudi Arabia by 2020.
2013 EFJ Award Winners
Print & Online:
- Trade Press Category – News/Investigative: David Kaplan, Fortune, for “Hostess Is Bankrupt…Again,” an investigative and analytical tour de force explaining the death of an American consumer icon.
- Trade Press Category – Features: Roger Parloff, Fortune, for “The All-American Con Man”; the thoroughly, untangled story of Barry Minkow, a colorful insider trader and swindler who has spent a lifetime deceiving everyone.
- Trade Press Category – Opinion: Rob Cox and Robert Cyran, Reuters Breakingviews, for “HP breakup is on tech world’s 2013 agenda,”these journalists succinctly argue how turning around the troubled technology company will take too long, and how breaking up HP would be quicker and double its value.
- Consumer Press Category – News/Investigative: David Evans, Bloomberg News, for "Duping the Donors," an in-depth series investigating how major charities instruct telemarketers to lie about how donations are used; and how other non-profits that are not charities make hundreds of millions of dollars tax free.
- Consumer Press Category – Features: David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, for “Inside Insider Trading.” After studying every U.S. insider trader case over the past five years, Voreacos takes readers on an unprecedented two-story tour into the world of insider traders.
- Consumer Press Category – Opinion: Susan Antilla, Bloomberg View, "Wall Street wins, the public loses," was the compilation of three monthly-opinion columns that exposed readers to fraud, illegal arbitration and malicious practices by some in the finance industry; disclosures many investors may have otherwise been unaware of.
- Radio Category – Segment Running 10 Minutes or Less: Carole Zimmer, Mark Mills, and Al Mayers, Bloomberg Radio, “Space Exploration Goes Private.” The report highlights the changing landscape for NASA and space travel in the 21st Century.
- Radio Category – Segment Running More than Ten Minutes: Carole Zimmer, Mark Mills, and Al Mayers, Bloomberg Radio, “Postponement Generation Grows Up,” a two-part series on how the economic recession has affected recent college graduates.
- TV Category –Segment Running More than 10 Minutes: Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, Matthew Mosk and Megan Chuchmach, ABC News, "The Money Trail 2012."The network’s investigative news team focused on the influence of big money in American politics and exposed the details of the hidden wealth of donors and candidates.
- TV Category – Segment Running 10 Minutes or Less: No winners were selected in this category.
- Book – Business/Financial: Kirsten Grind, for “The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual - The Biggest Bank Failure in American History.” an intimate account of not only how one bank lost itself to greed and mismanagement, but how the entire financial industry and entire country lost its way as well. (Simon & Schuster)