ABC News is calling on the Center for Public Integrity to share their Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism, awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby, taking issue with CPI’s Pulitzer submission that depicts ABC News as a minor partner in a year-long coal-mining industry investigation instead of equal partners.
“You seem to be determined that ABC was simply a megaphone for Chris Hamby’s work,” ABC President Ben Sherwood wrote in a four-page letter to CPI executive director William Buzenberg yesterday, adding that in CPI’s submission, they “omitted the names of ABC News reporters and sought to parse and diminish their contributions.”
Buzenberg isn’t conceding: “ABC is seeking to take credit for a large body of work that it did not produce,” he said in a draft response to Sherwood, POLITICO reports.
“That is a lie, that is an absolute lie,” ABC News SVP for Communications Jeffrey Schneider tells TVNewser in response to Buzenberg. “We take great exception to the CPI submission that diminished our work almost to the point of nonexistence, and took complete credit for this joint investigation which had so much impact,” Schneider continued.
The investigation placing ABC and CPI at odds exposed doctors and lawyers conspiring with the coal industry to deny sick miners their black-lung medical benefits. The report caused the famed Johns Hopkins Hospital to suspend its black-lung program; Congress also sought to craft legislation to help sick miners.
“We believe that Chris Hamby deserves a Pulitzer Prize for his work,” Schneider added. “What we take great exception to is Bill Buzenberg suggesting ABC had little to do with this reporting. We were invited to take part in this work before he was named executive director at CPI.”
The two organizations have recently shared awards on the coal-mining industry story. Last month, the Harvard Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting was awarded to reporters from both news outlets; next month the White House Correspondents Association will also honor both.
Sherwood’s full letter to CPI’s executive director after the jump.