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Financial crisis coverage dominates Loeb Awards

Financial crisis coverage dominates Loeb Awards

McClatchy & Co., one of the companies hardest hit by the crisis in the newspaper industry, was honored Monday for its coverage of the economic meltdown.
The Loeb Awards, among the highest honors in business journalism, have been presented for 36 years by the Anderson School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles. They were established in 1957 by Gerald Loeb, a financier and founding partner of E.F. Hutton, to encourage quality reporting in business, finance and the economy.
Even as media companies struggle with a chronic decline in advertising revenue, made worse by the recession, they continued to put resources towards investigative journalism in covering the biggest economic and business story of the past 70 years. A number of award recipients spoke of being given a year or more to travel to big cities and small towns across the U.S. to write stories of abusive mortgage practices and other financial misdeeds.
The New York Times, which received three Loeb Awards, was honored for "The Reckoning," a 19-part account of who and what was to blame for the financial crisis. Lawrence Ingrassia, business and financial editor at The New York Times and the driving force behind the series, received the Lawrence Minard Editor Award.
In accepting the honor, Ingrassia said the current era hearkens "back to the 1930s, not because we're in a depression, but because it's increasingly incumbent on the press to be the watchdog."
The New York Times' Gretchen Morgenson, who co-authored "The Reckoning" with eight colleagues, also won a Loeb Award in the beat writing category for her coverage of the follies of Wall Street.
She shared that win with Rick Rothacker of McClatchy publication The Charlotte Observer, who was recognized for anticipating how adjustable rate mortgages would topple Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank Wachovia Corp. and ultimately force its takeover by Wells Fargo & Co. That newspaper also received an Honorable Mention for its investigative series on the poultry industry, "The Cruelest Cuts."
The Miami Herald, another former Knight Ridder publication now owned by McClatchy, was recognized in the medium and small newspapers category for "Borrowers Betrayed," which chronicled Florida's failure to prevent convicted felons from working in the state's mortgage industry and bilking lenders and borrowers out of millions of dollars.
The awards come at a time when many newspaper publishers have been struggling with a sharp drop in their main source of revenue _ advertising _ as more readers shift to free news online and the recession crimps spending on real estate, help wanted and auto classified ads. Seven newspaper publishers have filed for bankruptcy protection since December.
Sacramento-based McClatchy has trimmed its work force by one-third, or more than 4,000 jobs, in the past year while shedding other expenses, including the dividend that it had been paying shareholders. Doubts about whether the 152-year-old company will survive have taken a toll on its stock price, with shares closing at just 50 cents Monday, down nearly 94 percent in the last 52 weeks.
CBS News/60 Minutes won both television categories, with its breaking news piece "Economic Crisis: House of Cards," on the subprime mortgage crisis, and enterprise segment "The Wasteland," about the toxic remains of recycled electronics.
Bill Emmott, former editor-in-chief of The Economist who retired in 2006 after 13 years in the position, received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year's awards were presented Monday night at a dinner in Manhattan. The winning entry in each category receives $2,000.
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On the Net:
http://www.loeb.anderson.ucla.edu


Updated : 2021-07-30 04:47 GMT+08:00