Newspaper series on NC hospitals wins national award

From staff reportsMarch 13, 2013 

A News & Observer investigative series on North Carolina’s nonprofit hospitals was honored Wednesday with a major national journalism award.

“Prognosis: Profits,” a series reported and produced jointly with The Charlotte Observer, won the Distinguished Writing Award for Local Accountability Reporting from the American Society of News Editors.

The series last April explored large profits at nonprofit hospitals, highlighted huge salaries for some executives and reported on efforts of the hospitals to sue patients delinquent on their bills or send patients who couldn’t pay to collection agencies. Follow-up stories revealed extreme profits on cancer drugs and showed how hospitals’ acquisitions of doctors’ practices has driven up the cost of care.

N&O investigative reporter Joseph Neff and database editor David Raynor worked on the series, which was edited in Raleigh by senior editor Steve Riley. In Charlotte, investigative reporter Ames Alexander and medical reporter Karen Garloch reported and wrote the stories, which were edited by senior editor Jim Walser.

Judges said the series was “grounded in meticulous reporting and presented in elegant and sophisticated form...This is a model of newspapers holding powerful local interests accountable and has ignited efforts for reform.”

The series has won three other national awards: the Bronze Medal in the annual Barlett and Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism; first place in investigative reporting from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers; and second place in investigative reporting from the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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