[Note: Consult UNC-CH SILS Prof. Deborah Barreau's April 2004 article in
Information Outlook, titled
"The New Information Professional." Barreau studied news researchers' assistance to their news editorial staffs.
Specifically she was researching published acknowledgements of researchers' contributions, i.e., byline or tag line credit.]
What follows is an account of how a team of news librarians, including Sharon Bidwell, worked together to inform the public of a bus accident that turned into a tragedy claiming 27 young lives near Carrollton, Kentucky. The news coverage earned the Louisville Courier-Journal a Pulitzer Prize in 1989.
"Not Above, But Beyond" Note: This article was first published in the May 1, 1985 issue of News Library News. Chamberlain shared in the winning of the 1985 Scripps Howard Freedom of Information Award for her newspaper, the Press-Enterprise.
From Watergate to Whitewater, veteran news researcher, Liz Donovan, describes the events, the players and the impact of her "investigative" research covering over two decades of work with The Washington Post.
More on Donovan's credit lines: "I was on the list of names submitted on the
Miami Herald's 1999 Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting. Probably
not mentioned in the citation, but the Herald story and a full-page ad with
photos of the winners included me (not to mention I got a share of the $$
prize). This was the investigation of the Miami mayoral race that turned up lots
of illegal absentee ballots in a runoff that changed the original result. I held
training sessions for reporters to background voters, ran searches, and helped
make available easy-to-use Intranet searches of public records databases
they could use in tracking voter registrations, voting, and home addresses (as
well as deaths). (I sometimes mention I was also part of the newsrooms that won
Pulitzers for Watergate, Hurricane Andrew, and the Elian Gonzalez story.)"
Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle/Times Union library director, Peter Ford, offers powerful testimony to the new challenges news librarians face beyond providing basic reference services. He gives evidence how news library staffers are part of the reporting process.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune news library researcher, Sylvia Frisch, describes two long-term investigative special projects in which she played a significant research role. One, the series on arson, won a Pulitzer for the Star-Tribune in 1990.
Assigned as the lead researcher for an investigative special projects team on hog waste in North Carolina, The News & Observer librarian Brooke Caine describes the months long effort to track the data on "Boss Hog" and the power of pork in North Carolina. The five-part series published in The News & Observer in February 1995, earned the Pulitzer's 1996 Public Service Award among several other national investigative reporting awards in the same year. Cain describes research at The News & Observer as "a collaborative effort between researchers, reporters and editors. Information is shared and ideas and leads spring from conversations and compared notes. The 'Boss Hog' series incorporated this philosophy of teamwork unlike any story we'd worked on in the past."
In 1997 the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, LA celebrated its first two Pulitzers, one for public service and a second for cartoonist Walt Handelsman. The public service award came for an eight-day series on how the world's fisheries are being destroyed by greedy fishermen, pollution and uncontrolled growth. According to Editor Jim Amoss, the paper got the idea from "problems in our own backyard -- the Gulf of Mexico." A task force of 13 reporters, editors, photographers as well as the papers news librarians took a global look at the problem. Here is Times-Picayune library director Nancy Burris recalling the news librarians' contributions to the series, "Oceans of Trouble." Readers will quickly note that Burris and her skilled staff played different, but increasingly essential roles among top newspaper research departments, that of database trainers, spreadsheet gurus and Internet coaches. The operative words in this newspaper were "reporter training." Burris and her staff document the philosophy and procedures involved.
In 1997 Barbara Newcombe (retired from the leadership of The Chicago Tribune library) was awarded the News Division's highest honor, the Joseph F. Kwapil Memorial Award. She was honored for her long service to the News Division during her career and for what she did afterward.
Barbara volunteered her time and considerable expertise to the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco for ten years after her retirement from the Chicago Tribune. During that time she compiled and published Paper Trails: A Guide to Public Records in California. She won the Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter for that book. In many information professionals' opinion Barbara's book is a trail blazer of its type. It serves as a worthy model for tracking access to any state's public records.
Alison Head is the Director of Information Management at The Press Democrat Newspaper, a New York Times Regional Newspaper in Santa Rosa, CA with a circulation of 100,000. She manages the paper's Editorial News Library and news research efforts as well as identifying and contributing to company-wide information-based projects, including the paper's web page. Alison concurrently teaches in San Jose State University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science and has been Visiting Faculty at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Kitty Bennett, St. Petersburg Times champ news researcher, said it best. In an email to the NewsLib list on February 18, 1998, Kitty paid tribute to her colleague, John Martin:
"Folks:She went on to give news researchers all over the world the highlights. Here is the full story.
We have had such a fabulous news research triumph here today I feel compelled to tell you all about it. The fabulous news researcher in question won't do it out of some strange sense of modesty, decorum, etc....At our weekly editors meeting this afternoon, our assistant managing editor for Tampa (Neville Green) lauded John for a lot of things, but one particularly nice comment made reference to the "intelligent use of the technology" available to us."
Richard Geiger, San Francisco Chronicle Library Director, begins the story about Joe Miller's relentless pursuit of truth about Pandas this way:
"First off, let it be said that Moses Salmeron's (letter writer to the Chronicle)love of pandas is shared by The Chronicle. Also Koalas and other warm, fuzzy animals with cute faces. In fact, one might reasonably think that their similarities to teddy bears could have perhaps confused us about the relations of bears and panda -- this despite our best efforts to bring you the best-written and edited newspaper in the Bay Area. Well, it turns out Chronicle editors were all over that font-page pronouncement of familial relations -- and the chorus was heard far and wide: `PANDAS AREN'T BEARS!' But library researcher Johnny Miller met the onslaught of editors and stood his ground. `Pandas ARE BEARS!'" Read the full story here.
"In the summer of 1950, in the first weeks of the Korean War, U.S. military forces opened fire on a group of South Korean civilian refugees at a place called No Gun Ri, killing hundreds of men, women and children.
What happened next was equally shocking: Nothing.
Apparently no one in the U.S. military reported the killings. No one investigated them. As years passed, historians remained unaware of what happened, Korean survivors said that when they tried to file a grievance, they met rejection and denial."
That was the beginning. Read on to discover the story behind the story, a
Pulitzer-prize winning story, "Bridge
at No Gun Ri," for investigative reporting in 2000. The Associated Press investigative reporters
and super researcher, Randy Herschaft, joined Sang-hun Choe (AP's reporter
in Seoul) in a great investigative effort that needs to be read. Read
about who was involved and discover the art and architecture of difficult,
inspired research. This is a story to remember and salute. Randy,
described in various ways as a "documents specialist" and a news
researcher is portrayed thus in this investigation:
"But Herschaft, whose gentle demeanor masks a tenaciousness as an investigator, returned to New York after a few days with a wealth of photocopied documents. His most startling find: orders from American commanders to their units retreating through South Korea to shoot civilians as a defense against disguised enemy soldiers. A story was taking shape." For more details, click on this link.Buddy Jaudon
From Tampa Tribune WFLA News Channel 8 researcher, Lyssa Oberkreser (email@example.com): "I am proud to say that my colleague, Buddy Jaudon, did an extraordinary job of researching the criminal background and driving record of Robert Bruno who was charged late Saturday (August 5, 2000) with second-degree murder in 'what authorities are calling the ultimate form of `road rage.'Carolyn Edds
"Buddy, who spent his entire Sunday digging through the Hillsborough County (Florida) public records database, was definitely deserving of his 1A byline!"
Read this story about how a tenacious, talented news researcher discovered the origins of an amnesiac preacher for her paper, the San Antonio Express-News
Michael Koop San Antonio Express-News researcher:
editor Mike Knoop was recognized by his newsroom peers at the newspaper's annual
Philip True Awards Feb. 26, 2006. Colleague Kevin Frazzini posted the following
message to the NewsLib list.
It was a satisfying win for the entire department because we compete in the same
category as the paper's copy editors, who have won every year since the awards
began. This was the first win for a researcher.
One of Koop's nominators praised his -- and all of news research's work.
"News researchers don't get enough credit for all their hustle."
Mike says getting award "feels like my gold medal. This is awesome."
The awards are named in honor of the newspaper's Mexico City bureau chief, who
was murdered in December 1998 while on a solo backpacking trip in Mexico's
Sierra Madre Occidental studying the Huichol Indians.
Contributed by Kathy Foley, San Antonio Express-News
Read more here:
Margot Williams (left) with colleague Alice Crites
(center) and a friend at Reagan Airport. They missed
the flight to New York City where the Pulitzers were
to be presented. The year was 1999.
[Note: Margot is currently with The New York Times.]
Margot Williams and Alice Crites of The Washington Post were a part of the research team involved in the series, "Deadly Force." This investigative project detailed police shootings in Washington and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for Public Service. Margot worked on a database detailing all the court cases involving police shootings. Margot tracked down over 400 cases from the courts and entered relevant information from each case in a database. Much of that information was cross-checked with FBI and police department records detailing all police homicides and police shootings. Interestingly, the police department maintains records on every discharge of police weapons, even if the discharge did not involve a homicide. The series took eight months to report and research. The writing took 2 1/2 months. Three reporters, Jeff Leen, Sari Horwitz and David Jackson, did the writing and reporting. Two computer specialists, Jo Craven and Ira Chinoy, the Post's Director of Computer-Assisted Reporting, analyzed the data on shootings.
Williams was also The Washington Post researcher on the 2002 Pulitzer-winning national news package re 9/11 and terrorism.
In 2004, Margot Williams, Steve Fainaru, Dave Sheinin, and Julie Tate (all from The Washington Post) earned the top prize in the Associated Press Sports Editors Awards category of Explanatory reporting for newspapers over 250,000 circulation.
In March 2005, Margot was part of The Washington Post team who earned the International News Reporting Grand Prize in the Annual Front Page Guild Service Awards. It was for the Abu Ghraib series.
Chesapeake Associated Press 1999
LOCAL OR STATE GOVERNMENT COVERAGE
Division I - David Montgomery, Susan Levine, Margot Williams and reporting team; The Washington Post; "D.C.'s Bureaucracy: A Day in the Maze."
Chesapeake Associate Press 1998
Division I - Robert O'Harrow Jr., Rajiv Chandrasekaran, John Schwartz and Margot Williams; The Washington Post; "Eye At the Keyhole: Privacy in the Digital Age."
Researchers Lynne Palombo, Lovelle Svart, and Gail Hulden were all credited (in print) for their research contributions to The Oregonian's 2001 Public Service Pulitzer winning series "Liberty's Heavy Hand." http://biz.oregonian.com/newsroom/?sec=48&tert=32
Contributed by Gail Hulden, News Research Director, The Oregonian
The New York Times
"For outstanding contribution to the web package, "Iraq Coverage," that traced the life of Saddam Hussein," Jack Begg has received a New York Times Publisher's Award: Special Citation Award for December 2006. Jack researched and selected -- from thousands of entries -- an array of articles spanning 20 years of Hussein's rule and decline. His work enabled our readers to take an in depth look, through our archives, at an event with a long and complicated history. It was a masterly job of news research and judgment that typified years of coverage by The Times."
Also from The New York Times: In June 2006 a Publishers Award was given to Eric Lichtblau, James Risen and Barclay Walsh. "For their careful, illuminating coverage of the government's efforts to track terrorist financing. They joined forces to examine records from an international financial database, including transactions of thousands of Americans and others inside the United States. With their dogged reporting and research, they probed the privacy and oversight issues raised by a secret program in the administration's expansive war on terror."
Contributed by Barbara Oliver, Director of News Research, The New York Times
New York Newsday
In 1992, when the late New York Newsday won a Pulitzer for spot news reporting, the library staff was counted as part of the Pulitzer team. Coverage focused on a midnight subway derailment in Manhattan that left five passengers dead and more than 200 injured. The librarians appeared in the team photo that was published in the paper and everyone received an award from Mayor Dinkins.
Contributed by: Donna Mendell, NBC Universal Information Center
From the Associated Press: Researcher Julie Reed received credit by the AP for the 2004 George Polk Award for Excellence in Journalism won by Justin Pritchard. And, of course, AP Research Director Lynn Dombek recently won the Gramling Award at AP.
Contributed by; Rhonda Shafner, Associated Press
[Editor's note: Lynn Dombek made this announcement on NewsLib in 2005: I'm pleased to let you know that AP researcher Julie Reed has been credited on Justin Pritchard's award winning series, "Dying to Work," for her contribution to the piece. The series won a 2004 George Polk award in Labor Reporting." The announcement can be read here: http://www.brooklyn.liu.edu/polk/press/2004.html. And parts of the series are here: http://fmmac2.mm.ap.org/polk_awards_dying_to_work.html/DyingtoWork.html We are all thrilled to see a news researcher's work recognized.
Randy Herschaft, Associated Press [Note: see listing above.]
Lynn Dombek, Associated Press
The News Research Center (NRC) at the Associated Press received a number of calls and emails about our projects after the recent NewsLibraryNews profile on us, and in that spirit wanted to share this this latest news. When the United Nations released its 2006 total Iraqi civilian casualty count on January 16 we quickly did what we're sure many of you did: compiled a list of other reputable resources for these grim death tallies, including methodologies, varying tallies, and expert contact information
The AP also felt this subject was so important to explain and contextualize that a podcast was published featuring a Q&A between AP's deputy international editor, Nick Tatro, and Lynn Dombek, director of AP's News Research Center.
NRC created and continues to maintain a database of AP-reported incidents involving Iraqi civilian deaths that is used to inform AP reporting. Julie Reed and I maintain this resource, and we'd be happy to talk with any of our colleagues who are considering starting similar projects.
Additionally, Monika Mathur maintains the AP Coalition Casualties database, regularly access by AP members. These proprietary databases enable the NRC team to analyze trends and help shape and inform AP reporting about the ongoing casualty situation in Iraq.
You can listen to the AP podcast here: http://asap.ap.org/stories/1156500.s
Contributed by: Jennifer Farrar, Associated Press News Research Center
From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:
We've had several this year and last. Our FEMA coverage won many, many awards including Finalist as a Pulitzer. It was written and researched by Sally Kestin, Megan O'Matz, and John Maines, assistant research editor/CAR. Newly named asst. dept head/CAR Jeremy Milarsky won a first place in the Florida Press Club government news category with reporter J.P. Renaud.
Contributed by: Gail Bulfin, Florida Sun-Sentinel
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Both I, Nisa Asokan and Alice Wertheim were credited for "contributed research" towards the award winning “Borrower Beware” series in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published in 2005. Winner of the Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism." Contributed by: Nisa Asokan, News Research, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In 2004 in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest in the over 250,000 category for Project Reporting we [Atlanta Journal Constitution] got an Honorable Mention including 3 researchers, who received certificates. Their names are listed on the bottom of the host website for that year: http://apse.dallasnews.com/contest/2004/writing/writing.over250.html The three researchers were Dorothy Shea, Alice Wertheim, Joni Zeccola . Our reporter, Mike Knobler noticed that a large number of NCAA players were from other countries, he wanted to list out all the countries and number of players from each country. The researchers gathered all the info from team websites and put it into a spreadsheet, along with some country info. Then, an artist, Jerome Thompson, turned it into a nice graphic of two basketballs, each as half of a globe with the countries and numbers of players. Around the edge was country info like this: AUSTRALIA Population: 19,913,144 Players in NCAA: 25 Fun fact: The best-known baller down under is not a 7-foot-1 redhead, but a WNBA MVP who posed nude in an Australian magazine (Lauren Jackson). CANADA Population: 32,507,874 Players in NCAA: 78 Fun fact: Home to the Lakers of dwarf basketball — the Canadian Half Pints, who average 4 feet 3 and have won 3,195 of their 3,206 games. Here's a jpeg of the double truck:
Contributed by: Richard Hallman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution researcher
From the Chicago Tribune:
Pictured above (from left) Chicago Tribune researcher Brenda Kilianski, with Bruce Dold Chicago Tribune editorial page editor and Ann Marie Lipinski Chicago Tribune editor. [Photo: Chicago Tribune.]
Please join me in congratulating Brenda Kilianski, one of my researchers here at the Chicago Tribune. On February 16th, Brenda received the Chicago Tribune's Outstanding Professional Performance award during our annual Jones-Beck Awards ceremony. She was honored for her professionalism, persistence in pursuing leads, and creative use of data. Brenda joined the Tribune as a researcher in 1998 and has played a key role in many storytelling projects. During 2006, some of the stories Brenda contributed to included:
"A tank of gas, a world of trouble: What does it take to quench America's mighty thirst for gasoline?" by Paul Salopek;
"After school, it's time for pork; Governor, lawmakers funnel $12 million to their pet projects" by Diane Rado, Stephanie Banchero and David Mendell;
"Internet blows CIA cover; It's easy to track America's covert operatives. All you need to know is how to navigate the Internet" by John Crewdson. [Note: posted on NewsLib Feb. 19, 2007 by Debra K. Bade, Editor, News Research and Archives, Chicago Tribune
This page was created by Barbara P. Semonche. It was last updated February 2007.