ABC News President James Goldston sent the following note to the news division this morning announcing that ABC News has been honored with the prestigious Heywood Broun Award.
It is a proud day here at ABC News. Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk, Rhonda Schwartz and the ABC News investigative team, along with their reporting partners at the Center for Public Integrity have been awarded the prestigious Heywood Broun Award, given by the Newspaper Guild, for their groundbreaking investigation, Breathless and Burdened on black lung disease.
This is the first time a television network has received this top honor in the award's history, which dates back to 1941. Past winners of the Heywood Broun include Woodward and Bernstein for their 1972 reports on the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post, and Bartlett and Steele for their legendary series on the lost American Dream for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The guild judges say give this award for a 'true commitment to championing the underdog against the powerful, the uncaring and the corrupt.' It is certainly true of this report.
The ABC News/CPI year-long joint investigation examined how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, helped defeat benefit claims of coal miners who were sick and dying of black lung disease. The team explored thousands of previously classified legal filings and went undercover with miners to see first-hand how doctors hired by coal companies conducted their exams.
Within 48 hours of the teams' reports, Johns Hopkins suspended its black lung program, effectively shutting down the questionable denial process. U.S. senators began crafting reform legislation using the series of reports as a guide and Congressmen began calling for a federal investigation.
Breathless and Burdened: Dying from black lung, buried by law and medicine
Brian Ross Investigates with the Center for Public Integrity
Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross
Investigative Producer Matthew Mosk
Reporter, Center for Public Integrity Chris Hamby
Producer Megan Chuchmach
Associate Producer Randy Kreider
Digital Editor Lee Ferran
Chief Investigative Producer Rhonda Schwartz