2006 Philip Meyer Award winners

The awards were presented March 9, 2007, at the 2007 CAR Conference in Cleveland.

The contest, for work published or broadcast between October 2006 and October 2007, attracted entries from across the country. Stories are available to IRE members through the IRE Resource Center. Click on a story link below or contact us at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org.

First Place

The Wall Street Journal for “Perfect Payday,” a series of articles over the past year that exposed the widespread practice of secretly backdating stock option grants to benefit corporate insiders. Lead writers Charles Forelle and James Bandler used a statistical model to calculate the wildly improbable odds that options grant dates would just happen to be so favorably profitable to dozens of executives at some of the nation’s best-known companies. Their stories about the scandal have spurred an ongoing federal securities investigation into rigged options at more than 100 companies to date.

Second Place

Gannett News Service for “Special Report: Rating Hospital Health Care,” an investigative package that rated more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals on how well they followed recommended medical guidelines for treating heart attack and heart failure patients. The stories by database editor Robert Benincasa and reporter Jennifer Brooks showed that patients in poor and rural areas were less likely to receive the recommended care. Their analysis took a national dataset detailing the treatments given to each patient and used a composite scoring methodology to rate each hospital.

Third Place

The Philadelphia Inquirer for “Camden Schools Investigation,” a series of stories that uncovered a cheating scandal in the standardized testing being used by the Camden, N.J., school district. The stories by reporters Melanie Burney, Frank Kummer and Dwight Ott revealed that test scores in several Camden schools were dramatically higher that would be expected based on past performance, and ultimately led to the resignation of the district superintendent, an investigation, and strict monitoring by the state department of education.