Year-Long Investigation Led to Suspension of Johns Hopkins Black Lung Unit & Prompted Federal Investigation
The ABC News Brian Ross Investigative Unit’s year-long investigation into the coal industry and the benefits denied to coal miners suffering from black lung disease has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
ABC News’ Matt Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz along with the Center for Public Integrity’s Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Jim Morris and Chris Zubak-Skees were honored with the Goldsmith Prize by the Joan Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on Wednesday night.
The ABC News investigation, “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine,” was a detailed series in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity. This award-winning series chronicled how doctors and lawyers, working with big coal companies, helped deny benefit claims of coal miners who were gravely ill and dying of black lung disease.
ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity worked tirelessly to examine countless legal documents and medical records to uncover how medical professionals at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions regularly denied the presence of deadly black lung on X-rays and medical tests.
After the reports aired on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” and ABCNews.com, Johns Hopkins suspended its black lung unit and Congress called for swift action, demanding reformed legislation and a thorough federal investigation. The Department of Labor also took action, announcing changes to the federal benefit system that addresses black lung benefit claims.
The annual Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting honors journalism that “best promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics.” The ABC News Brian Ross Investigative Unit was previously named Goldsmith Award finalists in 2011 for “Peace Corps: A Trust Betrayed,” and in 2001 for the series, “The Money Trail,” which examined the corrupting influence of big money on national politics.
For a complete list of the 2014 Goldsmith Award finalists, please click here.