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AJC named a finalist for national investigative reporting award

Another national contest has honored The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s series on doctors who sexually abuse their patients.

On Monday, the series was chosen as one of six finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy announced. The center, based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, honors investigative reporting that best promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics.

The AJC investigation revealed a culture of secrecy and deference that protects doctors who sexually violated vulnerable patients. In light of the findings, lawmakers in several states are considering strengthening patient protections. The project team included reporters Carrie Teegardin, Danny Robbins, Ariel Hart, Jeff Ernsthausen, Johnny Edwards and Alan Judd; video journalist Ryon Horne; and illustrator Richard Watkins.

Other Goldstein finalists are the Chicago Tribune, for its investigation into prescription drug interactions; the Los Angeles Times, for revealing the California National Guard enlistment bonus scandal; Mother Jones magazine, which exposed mismanagement in private prisons; the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which revealed that trial judges in Florida treated black and white defendants differently; and The Wall Street Journal, which revealed fraud involving a blood testing technique that jeopardized the health of patients.

“The six Goldsmith finalists represent the very best work by talented reporters investigating a wide range of important policy areas,” said Shorenstein Center Director Nicco Mele in a news release.

An awards ceremy will be held March 2 at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., where the winner will be chosen from among the six finalists.

Last week, the Doctors & Sex Abuse series won the Philip Meyer Award, given by Investigative Reporters & Editors. The award honors the nation’s best investigative work that makes use of social science research methods. In announcing the award, IRE praised the high-tech methods such as machine learning that the AJC used to sift through more than 100,000 medical board orders to identify cases of doctors accused of sexual misconduct. That award will be presented March 4 in Jacksonville, Fla.

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