This year, Reuters took home gold in the Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journal, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel receiving the silver award.
Reuters’ $5,000 winning piece was “Diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Dropped by Insurer” by Murray Waas with additional reporting from Lewis Krauskopf. The investigative article, packed with interviews from patients and officials alike, looked into the dubious practices of WellPoint, the nation’s largest insurance company. The report found that the company had developed special computer algorithms to target policyholders diagnosed with breast cancer. These patients were then singled out by WellPoint for “aggressive investigation” with the intent to cancel their policies. The article drew attention from Washington, which urged major insurers, including WellPoint, to end their recession policies immediately.
The silver, $2,000 winning piece was John Fauber’s “Side Effects: Money, Medicine and Patients,” which looked into how conflicts of interest — say, obligations to certain companies or publications — can impact doctors’ judgment.