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Press Release

NYSSCPA Announces Winners of 2018 Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards

Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
May 17, 2018

NEW YORK — (May 17, 2018) — The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2018 Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards (EFJs).

This award recognizes reporters from the national and local press whose work was published, posted or broadcast in 2017, contributed to a better and balanced understanding of business or financial topics. Winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of NYSSCPA members and financial journalists, who ranked submissions on accuracy, quality and thoroughness of research as well as a fair and balanced representation of the topic. This year’s winners will be honored during a luncheon ceremony on June 8 at The Tribeca Grill in New York City.

2018 EFJ Award Winners:

Excellence in Financial Journalism Book Award: Jesse Eisinger, “The Chickenshit Club.” Eisinger offers an inside look at the U.S. Justice Department and why, following its prosecution of executives at Enron and WorldCom for financial fraud in the early 2000s, it failed to prosecute executives responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.

Audio (Small Media): Jack Sweeney, host and creator of The CFO Thought Leader, wins for two episodes from The CFO Thought Leader podcast featuring Hubspot CFO, John Kinzer and a panel featuring five CFOs discussing their top metrics used to demonstrate the effectiveness of achieving major business objectives.

Audio (Medium/Large Media): The Wall Street Journal’s “The Future of Everything,” podcast produced an episode called, “In Bitcoin We trust?” that explored the cryptocurrency we know as Bitcoin and what caused the rise of this invention, how it works and its future. In the segment, they speak to crypto experts such as Paul Vigna, allowing listeners to learn how cryptocurrency will not only change the way we view technology, but also how it could possibly affect politics and institutions in the future.

Enterprise Reporting:
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other media partners, “The Paradise Papers.” Following a leak of secret documents from 21 sources, more than 90 media partners investigated and exposed hidden dealings of corporate giants such as Apple and Nike as well as secret deals made by tax-evading criminals and prominent politicians and their supporters.  The investigation and exposure caused governments and corporations all over the world to open tax investigations. After publishing details of Apple’s tax arrangements, Republicans in Congress increased the proposed tax rate to 15.5 %, from 10 %, on repatriated overseas profits, and Apple promised to pay $38 billion.

General Reporting
: Michael Grabell and Howard Berkes, ProPublica, for “Sold for Parts.” Grabel focuses on a chicken processing plant know as Case Farms, and its work practices, taking advantage of underage and undocumented immigrants, illegally hiring them to work in dangerous conditions and firing them if they protested or were injured on the job. Following this exposure, Grabel partnered with Berkes from NPR to analyze 14 years of Florida insurance data to expose how employers and insurance companies were using a state law to get out of paying workers compensation benefits to injured, undocumented immigrants.

Infographic: Bloomberg News’ Matt Townsend, Jenny Surane, Emma Orr and Christopher Cannon, for, “America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just the Beginning.” Through many interactive data visualizations the Bloomberg News team illustrates the high amount of debt that retail companies own and how it affects the retail industry and the future of the economy. 

Local and Public Service Reporting
: Jason Grotto, Ray Long and Sandhya Kambhampati from ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune, for their four-part series exposing Cook County’s unfair property tax assessment system in, “The Tax Divide.” For two years, Grotto and his team studied the system, analyzing more than 100 million digital records and interviewing dozens of experts, attorneys and property owners. They found errors and discrepancies in tax assessments that punished poor home owners and small businesses in Chicago while giving the wealthy unsanctioned tax breaks and lining the pockets of politically connected tax attorneys.

: Thomas Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, for a series of opinion pieces focusing on the Wells Fargo sales fraud scandal that broke in 2017. The series included an analysis of the bank’s leadership team, its cross marketing strategies and how these unethical practices began well before 2017, dating back to 1998, when it merged with Norwest.

Video (Large): The Weather Channel Digital and InsideClimate News teamed up for, “Killing Clean: The Playbook to Destroy Clean Energy.” In this video, they discuss the clean energy revolution and how Ohio lawmakers flipped their positions on an issue they once supported. In 2008, Ohio passed an alternative energy mandate designed to adopt the use of solar and wind energy sources for electricity in the state, which helped create jobs, turn profits, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Fast forward to 2017, most of those lawmakers who supported the mandate now opposed it. To find out why, the Killing Clean team investigated coal companies, utilities, think tanks, nonprofit foundations, and political action committees that mobilized to rollback clean energy initiatives one state at time.

Video (Medium Media): Fusion TV’s The Naked Truth, “Debt Trap.” An inside look of America’s student debt crisis. The investigation discuss the causes including the rise in tuition and government disinvestment as well as the public and private entities that helped cause the problem.

This year’s EFJ Awards judges were Gary Belsky, Mary Jo Brancatelli, Rumbidzai Bwerinofa-Petrozzello, Michael Hall, Orume Hays, Richard Hecht, Elliot Hendler, Leon Metzger, Iralma Pozo, George Victor, Mike Zovistoski, and David Zweighaft. The 2018 EFJ book judges were Justin Baer, Susan Barossi and Leah Spiro.

About the NYSSCPA
Founded in 1897, the NYSSCPA is the premier professional accounting association for more than 26,000 members residing and practicing in New York State, encompassing all areas of public practice, including in government, education, healthcare, real estate, technology and entertainment and industry. It is the oldest – and the third largest such state society organization - in the United States.