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Annual Barlett & Steele Awards announce 2022 categories

Awards to expand recognition of investigative business journalism at regional and local news organizations; honor outstanding young journalists


Journalists receiving award for investigative reporting on stage

2021 Gold Award recipients from ProPublica receive their award at a Must See Monday event in Downtown Phoenix at the Cronkite School.

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May 18, 2022

Since its inception in 2007, the Barlett & Steele Awards have blazed a high-visibility path of excellence in rewarding incisive business reporting that “tells us something we don’t know.”

Starting this year, the Barlett & Steele Awards will expand the number of awards given for outstanding investigative business journalism to better recognize work done at regional and local news organizations and honor outstanding young journalists.

The awards will now have two categories: one for news organizations with a national or global audience and/or a newsroom with more than 100 editorial staff, and the other for organizations with a regional or local focus and/or a newsroom with 100 or fewer journalists.

Each category will have a gold, silver and bronze award. Gold awards come with a cash prize of $3,000, sliver with $2,000 and bronze with $1,000.

In addition, there will be a new annual award for Outstanding Young Journalist. This award will recognize the work of a journalist under 30 years of age who demonstrates outstanding ability in investigative business reporting. One award will be given each year, and it will carry a $3,000 cash prize.

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. The annual awards are sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“The expansion of this award is a wonderful way to recognize even more journalists who are doing essential work to investigate and report on important issues in business and finance,” Steele said.

"Despite the challenges newsrooms are facing today — particularly smaller newsrooms — there is a lot of great business journalism being produced throughout the country," said Jeffrey Timmermans, Reynolds Center director. "We want to celebrate, and encourage, these efforts to keep American citizens informed about their economy and watch over the companies we rely on so much in our daily lives."

Last year, "The Secret IRS Files" series by ProPublica received the Gold Award for their investigative work exposing how the wealthiest people in America avoided paying their fair share of taxes at a time when wealth inequality has become a national crisis.

“These amazing revelations show just how – and how far – well-known members of America’s super rich go to slash their tax bills to the very minimum, or pay no taxes at all,” the judges said. “The reporters painstakingly vetted the figures for accuracy, did more reporting and clearly explained the findings with striking individual case studies and creative graphics.”

Entries for the Barlett & Steele Awards will undergo an initial vetting round by the faculty of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a panel of distinguished financial journalists making the final decision for each award.

Applications for entry begin June 1, with a submission deadline of July 31. The winners of the awards will be announced in October.

Entries must have been published or broadcast between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. There are no entry fees for the Barlett & Steele Awards.

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