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LIVEBLOG: Financial Journalism Awards
The NYSSCPA announced on March 29 the winners of its annual Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards, and today the winners will be honored for their contributions to better understanding of financial topics at an awards luncheon.
Beginning around noon, we will be live blogging the awards ceremony from the Yale Club in Manhattan, and tweeting using the hashtag #nysscpaJournoAwards. NYSSCPA Past President and awards judge David J. Moynihan will speak, followed by The New York Times reporter David Kocieniewski, who was awarded a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism.
Thanks to the judges who helped select this year's Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards winners.
General entry judges included NYSSCPA members Elliot L. Hendler, Alan D. Kahn, David J. Moynihan, George I. Victor and Alan E. Weiner, and New York Financial Writer's Association members Barry Rehfeld, Susan Rodetis, Imogen Rose-Smith, Richard Wilner and Terry Wooten. Book judges included NYSSCPA members Brian A. Caswell and Cynthia L. Krom, and New York Financial Writer's Association members Stephen Foley and Leah N. Spiro.
Ten awards will be presented today, to 19 individual journalists. The financial journalism celebrated today included coverage of the mortgage crisis, insider trading in Congress, child labor, ovarian cancer and the economy of social media.
NYSSCPA Past President David J. Moynihan, who flew in from Syracuse this morning to be here, welcomed the NYSSCPA members, award winners, judges and guests to the ceremony.
"This is a unique luncheon for the NYSSCPA," he said. "When I think of journalism, I think... if you were at a party and you came across a journalist, you'd want to hang out with him (or her)."
He went on:
"I think our professions -- journalists and CPAs -- have one thing in common: We're the truth tellers. That's what we do. Our job is to tell the truth, to tell the truth in numbers. The beauty of journalists, is it's your job to tell the story that is behind those numbers. I think our ability to work with journalists who want to tell the truth, and who want to get it right, is a privilege we have in public accounting."
Moynihan thanked the judges who helped select this year's winners.
"A tremendous amount of time was spent, we pored through a lot of material," he said.
David Kocieniewski will speak after lunch.
The NYSSCPA was especially thrilled to have a New York state native and esteemed financial journalist speak at this year's awards luncheon.
"As far as luncheon speakers go, this is about as good as it gets," said Moynihan.
David Kocieniewski, a Buffalo native and State University of New York Binghamton graduate, joined The New York Times in 1995, after stints at The Detroit News and New York Newsday. Kocieniewski has won awards for his coverage of criminal justice and politics, and has been covering the nation's tax system as a business reporter for The Times since 2010. He also co-authored "Two Seconds Under the World," and wrote "The Brass Wall: The Betrayal of Undercover Detective #4126."
Kocieniewski was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his Times series examining businesses aiming to lower their taxes and the debate to improve the tax system, titled "But Nobody Pays That."
"I'm grateful to speak here today, as a relative new kid to the world of financial aid reporting, many CPAs have helped me decipher arcane corners of the tax code," said Kocieniewski.
He explained how he got into financial journalism, after years of covering law enforcement and government corruption. Following former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer's resignation, The Times assigned Kocieniewski to finding out whether incoming Gov. David Paterson had misused any public funds.
Kocieniewski credited Rep. Charlie B. Rangel, who "introduced me to the muse ... of many of the CPAs in the room: the tax code," he said.
"I tend to write about the outliers, the people abusing the tax code or pushing the envelope... but the vast majority of people out there, are people like those in this room, who are working to tell the truth and get it right," he said.
He said he was "stunned" to see the breadth and depth of financial journalism that was selected for this year's awards.
To the journalist winners, he said:
"The work you do helps people make sense of an increasingly complex world. ... The one clear thing is that quality content, the kind of quality journalism -- the kind of work that you all do -- is what is going to survive and thrive."
Watch Kocieniewski's speech here:
The awards are now being presented.
Features: John Helyar, Carol Hymowitz and Mehul Srivastava, Bloomberg Markets Magazine, for “The Double Life of Rajat Gupta,” a comprehensive profile of Gupta convertly channeling business to his private firm as he ran McKinsey & Co., the world’s most prestigious consulting company.
"This article started with a 'why,'" said Hymowitz.
Opinion: Jeffrey Goldfarb, Reuters Breaking Views, for “P&G’s Pringles Partner Warrants Careful Taste,” a journalist’s commentary that upended the proposed $2.4 billion purchase of Pringles from Proctor & Gamble by Diamond Foods.
News: Cam Simpson, Bloomberg News, for “Victoria’s Secret Revealed in Child Picking Burkina Faso Cotton,” an in-depth report on how an effort to address the endemic use of child labor instead created incentives for exploitation in Burkina Faso in West Africa.
The award was accepted by Leslie Fox, on behalf of Cam Simpson. She read remarks from Simpson:
"Your recognition serves as a vital nourishing force ... your recognition helps keeps us going."
News: Michael Hudson, The Center for Public Integrity, for “The Great Mortgage Cover-Up,” an in-depth series into why major banks and mortgage lenders bankrolled a wave of toxic loans that helped throw the nation’s financial system and economy into crisis.
Features: Justin Rohrlich, Minyanville Media, for “Insider Trading Laws Do Not Apply to Members of Congress. No Seriously,” An investigation of the arcane rules that allow members of Congress to trade using inside information.
"We'll see what happens," said Rohrlich. "There's some more work to be done."
Opinion: Jason Zweig, The Wall Street Journal, for “The Intelligent Investor,” a weekly column that exposes conflicts of interest and risky complexities that many investors would have overlooked otherwise.
"It takes a lot of effort and a lot of help from people like the ones in this room" to get journalism right, Zweig said. "It's really nice" to be recognized by people outside the journalism field.
Segment Running 10 Minutes or Less: Tara Lynn Wagner, NY1, for “Money Matters: Golden Years?” A series focusing on the financial realities facing the baby boomer generation as they approach retirement.
Wagner thanked Society members for being "so helpful, and so patient."
For her audience, she needs to make complex information accessible for the general public. "I wouldn't be able to do it without your help," she said.
Segment Running More than 10 Minutes: Carol Massar, Matt Miller, Carole Zimmer, Ted Fine, Bloomberg Television, for “Race for the Next Facebook,” an in-depth look at the start-ups and dreamers on the verge of success.
Segment Running More than Ten Minutes: Carole Zimmer, Mark Mills, Nick Civatta, Al Maykers, Anthony Mancini, WBBR Bloomberg Radio, “Stalking a Silent Killer,” a documentary examining the business of ovarian cancer.
A friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and she agreed to be taped "on good days and bad," for the documentary, said Zimmer. "We just celebrated the one-year anniversary of her death. I feel like it was a tribute hopefully to her life and an opportunity to be able to tell people about this disease."
Business/Financial: Steven Levy, for “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives,” (Simon & Schuster) a revealing look into the most successful and admired technology companies of our time.
Levy's wife, Teresa Carpenter, accepted the award on his behalf.
He is deeply grateful for the NYSSCPA's recognition of the book, Carpenter said.