Investigative Reporting

Finalists have been announced since 1980. Full texts, photographs and cartoons are available for Journalism winners from 1995–2015 only.


2015 Eric Lipton The New York Times

For reporting that showed how the influence of lobbyists can sway congressional leaders and state attorneys general, slanting justice toward the wealthy and connected.

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2015 The Wall Street Journal Staff

For "Medicare Unmasked," a pioneering project that gave Americans unprecedented access to previously confidential data on the motivations and practices of their health care providers.

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2014 Chris Hamby The Center for Public Integrity, Washington, DC

For his reports on how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease, resulting in remedial legislative efforts.

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2013 David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab The New York Times

For their reports on how Wal-Mart used widespread bribery to dominate the market in Mexico, resulting in changes in company practices.

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2012 Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley the Associated Press

For their spotlighting of the New York Police Department’s clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities, resulting in congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering.

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2012 Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong The Seattle Times

For their investigation of how a little known governmental body in Washington State moved vulnerable patients from safer pain-control medication to methadone, a cheaper but more dangerous drug, coverage that prompted statewide health warnings.

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2011 Paige St. John Sarasota Herald-Tribune

For her examination of weaknesses in the murky property-insurance system vital to Florida homeowners, providing handy data to assess insurer reliability and stirring regulatory action.

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2010 Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman Philadelphia Daily News

For their resourceful reporting that exposed a rogue police narcotics squad, resulting in an FBI probe and the review of hundreds of criminal cases tainted by the scandal.

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2010 Sheri Fink ProPublica, in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine

For a story that chronicles the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.

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2009 David Barstow The New York Times

For his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.

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2008 Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker The New York Times

For their stories on toxic ingredients in medicine and other everyday products imported from China, leading to crackdowns by American and Chinese officials.

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2008 Staff Chicago Tribune

For its exposure of faulty governmental regulation of toys, car seats and cribs, resulting in the extensive recall of hazardous products and congressional action to tighten supervision.

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2007 Brett Blackledge The Birmingham (AL) News

For his exposure of cronyism and corruption in the state's two-year college system, resulting in the dismissal of the chancellor and other corrective action. (Moved by the Board from the Public Service category.)

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2006 Susan Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith The Washington Post

For their indefatigable probe of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff that exposed congressional corruption and produced reform efforts.

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2005 Nigel Jaquiss Willamette Week, Portland, Oregon

For his investigation exposing a former governor’s long concealed sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.

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2004 Michael D. Sallah, Mitch Weiss and Joe Mahr The Blade, Toledo, OH

For their powerful series on atrocities by Tiger Force, an elite U.S. Army platoon, during the Vietnam War.

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2003 Clifford J. Levy The New York Times

For his vivid, brilliantly written series "Broken Homes" that exposed the abuse of mentally ill adults in state-regulated homes.

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2002 Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham and Sarah Cohen The Washington Post

For a series that exposed the District of Columbia's role in the neglect and death of 229 children placed in protective care between 1993 and 2000, which prompted an overhaul of the city's child welfare system.

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2001 David Willman Los Angeles Times

For his pioneering exposé of seven unsafe prescription drugs that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and an analysis of the policy reforms that had reduced the agency's effectiveness.

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2000 Sang-Hun Choe, Charles J. Hanley and Martha Mendoza Associated Press

For revealing, with extensive documentation, the decades-old secret of how American soldiers early in the Korean War killed hundreds of Korean civilians in a massacre at the No Gun Ri Bridge.

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1999 Staff The Miami Herald

For its detailed reporting that revealed pervasive voter fraud in a city mayoral election, that was subsequently overturned.

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1998 Gary Cohn and Will Englund The Baltimore Sun

For their compelling series on the international shipbreaking industry, that revealed the dangers posed to workers and the environment when discarded ships are dismantled.

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1997 Eric Nalder, Deborah Nelson and Alex Tizon The Seattle Times

For their investigation of widespread corruption and inequities in the federally-sponsored housing program for Native Americans, which inspired much-needed reforms.

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1996 Staff The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA

For reporting that uncovered fraudulent and unethical fertility practices at a leading research university hospital and prompted key regulatory reforms.

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1995 Brian Donovan and Stephanie Saul Newsday, Long Island, NY

For their stories that revealed disability pension abuses by local police.

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1994 Staff Providence Journal-Bulletin

For thorough reporting that disclosed pervasive corruption within the Rhode Island court system.

1993 Jeff Brazil and Steve Berry Orlando (FL) Sentinel

For exposing the unjust seizure of millions of dollars from motorists --most of them minorities-- by a sheriff's drug squad.

1992 Lorraine Adams and Dan Malone Dallas Morning News

For reporting that charged Texas police with extensive misconduct and abuses of power.

1991 Joseph T. Hallinan and Susan M. Headden The Indianapolis Star

For their shocking series on medical malpractice in the state.

1990 Lou Kilzer and Chris Ison Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul

For reporting that exposed a network of local citizens who had links to members of the St. Paul fire department and who profited from fires, including some described by the fire department itself as being of suspicious origin.

1989 Bill Dedman The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

For his investigation of the racial discrimination practiced by lending institutions in Atlanta, reporting which led to significant reforms in those policies.

1988 Dean Baquet, William Gaines and Ann Marie Lipinski Chicago Tribune

For their detailed reporting on the self-interest and waste that plague Chicago's City Council.

1987 John Woestendiek The Philadelphia Inquirer

For outstanding prison beat reporting, which included proving the innocence of a man convicted of murder.

1987 Daniel R. Biddle, H. G. Bissinger and Fredric N. Tulsky The Philadelphia Inquirer

For their series "Disorder in the Court," which revealed transgressions of justice in the Philadelphia court system and led to federal and state investigations.

1986 Jeffrey A. Marx and Michael M. York Lexington (KY) Herald Leader

For their series "Playing Above the Rules," which exposed cash payoffs to University of Kentucky basketball players in violation of NCAA regulations and led to significant reforms.

1985 William K. Marimow The Philadelphia Inquirer

For his revelation that city police dogs had attacked more than 350 people -- an expose that led to investigations of the K-9 unit and the removal of a dozen officers from it.

1985 Lucy Morgan and Jack Reed St. Petersburg (FL) Times

For their thorough reporting on Pasco County Sheriff John Short, which revealed his department's corruption and led to his removal from office by voters.


2015 David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib of the Chicago Tribune

For their exposé of the perils faced by abused children placed in Illinois’s residential treatment centers.

2014 Megan Twohey of Reuters

For her exposure of an underground Internet marketplace where parents could bypass social welfare regulations and get rid of children they had adopted overseas but no longer wanted, the stories triggering governmental action to curb the practice.

2014 Cynthia Hubert and Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee

For their probe of a Las Vegas mental hospital that used commercial buses to "dump" more than 1,500 psychiatric patients in 48 states over five years, reporting that brought an end to the practice and the firing of hospital employees.

For their exposure of manufacturers that imperil public health by continuing to use toxic fire retardants in household furniture and crib mattresses, triggering reform efforts at the state and national level.

2013 Alexandra Zayas of the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.

For her probe into unlicensed religious group-homes where children were beaten and locked in closet-size rooms for violating senseless rules, prompting action by state authorities

2012 Gary Marx and David Jackson the Chicago Tribune

For their exposure of a neglectful state justice system that allowed dozens of brutal criminals to evade punishment by fleeing the country, sparking moves for corrective change.

2011 Walt Bogdanich The New York Times

For his spotlighting of medical radiation errors that injure thousands of Americans, sparking national discussion and remedial steps.

2011 Sam Roe and Jared S. Hopkins Chicago Tribune

For their investigation, in print and online, of 13 deaths at a home for severely disabled children and young adults, resulting in a state effort to close the facility.

2010 Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig Sarasota Herald-Tribune

For their in-depth reporting and computer analysis that unraveled $10 billion in suspicious Florida real estate transactions, triggering local and state efforts to curb abuses.

2010 Michael Moss and members of The New York Times Staff

For relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices.(Moved by the Board to the Explanatory Reporting category)

2009 Paul Pringle Los Angeles Times

For his meticulously researched stories that, in the face of threats, exposed financial abuses by the head of California’s largest union, leading to investigations, the leader’s departure from office and repayment of misappropriated funds.

2009 Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

For their powerful revelations that the government was failing to protect the public from dangerous chemicals in everyday products, such as some “microwave-safe” containers, stirring action by Congress and federal agencies.

2008 Miles Moffeit and Susan Greene The Denver Post

For their reports on how destruction of evidence in criminal cases across the nation can free the guilty and convict the innocent, prompting official efforts to correct breakdowns.

2007 Ken Armstrong, Justin Mayo and Steve Miletich The Seattle Times

For their series that exposed how the improper sealing of hundreds of lawsuits hid information vital to public safety, and resulted in remedial judicial steps.

2007 Michael J. Berens, Julia Sommerfeld and Carol Ostrom The Seattle Times

For their probe of sexual misconduct by health-care professionals that included creation of an extensive online database of offenders and caused a tightening of state regulation.

2007 Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kauffman Hartford Courant

For their in-depth reports on suicide among American soldiers in Iraq, leading to congressional and military action to address mental health problems raised in the stories.

2006 Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino Los Angeles Times

For their exposure of problems in the management of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world's richest art institution, and in acquisition practices at other museums.

2006 Sally Kestin, Megan O'Matz and John Maines South Florida Sun-Sentinel

For their in-depth reports on the federal government's widespread mismanagement of hurricane aid, triggering indictments and other remedial action.

2005 Diana B. Henriques The New York Times

For her revelations that thousands of vulnerable American soldiers were exploited by some insurance companies, investment firms and lenders.

2005 Clark Kauffman Des Moines Register

For his exposure of glaring injustice in the handling of traffic tickets by public officials.

2004 David Ottaway and Joe Stephens The Washington Post

For their detailed stories that revealed questionable practices by a respected environmental organization and that produced sweeping reforms.

2004 David Barstow and Lowell Bergman The New York Times

For their relentless examination of death and injury among American workers and exposure of employers who break basic safety rules. (Moved by the Board to the Public Service category, where it was also entered.)

2003 Alan Miller and Kevin Sack Los Angeles Times

For their revelatory and moving examination of a military aircraft, nicknamed "The Widow Maker," that was linked to the deaths of 45 pilots. (Moved by the Board to the National Reporting category, where it was also entered.)

2003 Staff The Seattle Times

For its outstanding blend of investigation and evocative storytelling that showed how a footloose Algerian boy evolved into a terrorist.

2002 Staff Dayton Daily News

For its ambitious global examination of the ethical issues surrounding the recruiting of foreign athletes for American schools.

2002 Duff Wilson and David Heath The Seattle Times

For a penetrating investigation of a local cancer research center, reporting that some patients who died in two failed clinical trials were deprived of essential information about the trials' risks, and were given drugs in which the center and its doctors had a financial interest.

2002 Craig Whitlock, David S. Fallis and April Witt The Washington Post

For two series that documented systematic abuses, including excessive shootings and questionable murder confessions, in the Prince George's County police department.

2001 Mike McIntire and Jack Dolan Hartford Courant

For their persistent reporting that dispelled, locally and nationally, the secrecy cloaking the mistakes of practicing doctors who have been subjected to disciplinary actions or compelled to make malpractice payments.

2001 Fredric N. Tulsky The Mercury News, San Jose, CA

For his illuminating reporting on the arbitrary and inconsistent administration of the federal system that grants political asylum to refugees entering the U.S.

2000 Kurt Eichenwald and Gina Kolata The New York Times

For reporting that disclosed how pharmaceutical companies secretly paid doctors to test drugs on patients.

2000 Sam Roe The Blade, Toledo, OH

For a series of articles that cited a 50-year pattern of misconduct by the American government and the beryllium industry in the production of metal used in nuclear bombs, which resulted in death and injury to dozens of workers, leading to government investigations and safety reforms.

1999 Alix M. Freedman The Wall Street Journal

For her reporting that revealed how a controversial chemical sterilization technique was exported by American population control advocates and used on women in Third World countries, a disclosure that prompted significant reforms.

1999 Fred Schulte and Jenni Bergal Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, FL

For their investigation of the hidden dangers of cosmetic surgery, a growing yet largely unregulated medical industry.

1998 Lisa Getter, Jeff Leen and Gail Epstein The Miami Herald

For their reporting that disclosed how hundreds of local police officers routinely served as unnecessary witnesses in misdemeanor arrests to gain overtime pay.

1998 Staff St. Petersburg Times

For its investigation of the corrupt financial practices charged to the Rev. Henry Lyons, president of the National Baptist Convention.

1997 Jim Haner The Baltimore Sun

For engendering regulatory reform through dogged reporting, which revealed that housing officials in the city owned neglected inner-city properties.

1997 Staff The Boston Globe

For its expose of abuse of disability benefits by retired public employees, prompting reform of the Massachusetts pension system.

1996 Chris Adams The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA

For reporting on widespread Medicaid abuse in the state involving prominent officials.

1996 David Jackson and William Gaines Chicago Tribune

For stories that probed questionable business dealings of the Nation of Islam.

1995 Dave Davis and Joan Mazzolini The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH

For their series of stories exposing abuses by Ohio doctors and hospitals, which resulted in significant reforms in the state's regulatory system.

1995 Keith A. Harriston and Mary Pat Flaherty The Washington Post

For a series of articles that disclosed careless hiring, training and disciplinary procedures within the District of Columbia police department

1994 Dean Baquet and Jane Fritsch The New York Times

For their reports that exposed costly fraud and mismanagement plaguing Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New York state, America's largest not-for-profit health insurer.

1994 Mark England and Darlene McCormick Waco (TX) Tribune-Herald

For stories that revealed sexual abuse and other criminal acts within the local compound held by members of the Branch Davidian cult.

1993 Dave Davis and Ted Wendling The Cleveland Plain Dealer

For their series about victims of botched radiation therapy and lax regulation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other agencies.

1993 Terry Ganey, Michael D. Sorkin and Louis J. Rose St. Louis Post-Dispatch

For investigations of corruption by a Missouri attorney general and a St. Louis chief prosecutor.

1993 James Heaney The Buffalo News

For stories that identified the major causes of the decline of Buffalo's older neighborhoods and proposed possible solutions.

1992 Jennifer Hyman Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY

For an investigation that revealed secret links between the Rochester Institute of Technology and the CIA.

1992 Staff Greenville (SC) News

For its persistent investigation of financial abuses at a University of South Carolina foundation, which prompted significant reforms.

1991 Candy J. Cooper San Francisco Examiner

For reports revealing that the Oakland Police Department had routinely neglected to investigate rape charges, which prompted the reopening of more than 200 cases.

1991 Ray Herndon The Dallas Times Herald

For persistent reporting that freed an innocent man serving a 55-year prison sentence.

1990 Olive Talley The Dallas Morning News

For an investigation disclosing the inadequate health care system in America's federal prisons, reporting that prompted a Congressional inquiry.

1990 Staff Lexington (KY) Herald Leader

For "Cheating Our Children." a series that examined local political abuses and their damaging effect on Kentucky's public schools.

1989 Mary Bishop The Roanoke (VA) Times and World News

For her investigation of dangerous practices and fraud in Virginia's pest control industry.

1989 Elsa Walsh and Benjamin Weiser The Washington Post

For a series about how court secrecy procedures have created a system of private justice within the public courts.

1989 Penny Loeb Newsday, Long Island, New York

For her reports on a public housing program that allowed prosperous tenants to live in city projects intended for citizens with limited income.

1988 Larry Copeland and Tracy Thompson The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

For documenting pervasive racial injustice in Georgia's Toombs Judicial Circuit.

1988 Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen The Seattle Times

For their reports on the mishandled investigation of the Green River murders, the biggest unsolved serial killer case in America.

1987 Terrence Poppa El Paso Herald-Post

For his resourceful investigation of the dealings of Mexican drug lords.

1987 Gary Marx and John Wark Orlando (FL) Sentinel

For their four-part series, which documented the misuse of funds by the Shrine of North America, the nation's richest charity, and spurred subsequent investigations in six states.

1986 Jim Henderson and Hugh Aynesworth Dallas Times Herald

For their persistent and thorough investigation of self-proclaimed mass murderer Henry Lee Lucas, which exposed him as the perpetrator of a massive hoax.

1986 Joel Kaplan and James Pratt The Tennessean, Nashville, TN

For their investigation of Congressman Bill Boner's financial dealings, which revealed flagrant abuses and caused the U.S. Justice Department to re-open an investigation of the matter.

1985 Mark J. Thompson Fort Worth Star-Telegram

For reporting which revealed that nearly 250 U.S. servicemen had lost their lives as a result of a design problem in helicopters built by Bell Helicopter-- a revelation which ultimately led the Army to ground almost 600 Huey helicopters pending their modification.