Michel Wins Investigative Reporting Award from Peers

2004’s coverage of anatomic pathology lab condos earns recognition in national journalism contest

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IN A PRESTIGIOUS JOURNALISM CONTEST conducted by NEPA (Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association), THE DARK REPORT’S Editor-In-Chief, Robert L. Michel, was recognized last month in the category of “best investigative reporting” for his story series on anatomic pathology laboratory condominiums. (See TDRs, July 19, 2004 and August 9, 2004.)

This journalism award is confirmation for clients and regular readers of THE DARK REPORT that they are getting high-quality business intelligence, well-written, and presented with organization and clarity.

Here’s a list of NEPA’s “Best Investigative Reporting” winners and a description of each winning story topic.


TELECOM MANAGER’S VOICE REPORT, UCG. Publisher Jonathan Stern won the David Swit Award for his story in February 2004 concerning a massive fraud telecom giant Nortel used to prop up its stock price and hold on to customers lured by a rival’s new technology. The story, in conjunction with actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, resulted in Nortel’s firing its CEO, CFO, and controller; launching an audit-committee probe of its management practices, restating several years of financial results; and coming under investigation by Canada’s Ontario Securities Commission.


JANE’S DEFENCE WEEKLY, Jane’s Information Group. Reporter Joseph Bermudez won the David Swit Award for his exclusive report in August 2004 on North Korea’s ability to launch two previously undisclosed ballistic missiles. The article, based on years of tracking the country’s missile developments, outlined how Russian personnel aided the systems’ development.


THE ENERGY DAILY, King Publishing Group, Reporters Jeff Beattie and George Lobsenz won for a series of stories that forced the Energy Department to reveal a $500 million bailout of one of its contractors—British-owned BNFL Inc.—at the behest of a foreign government. The reporters’ investigation revealed that the DOE agreed to buy out two BNFL cleanup contracts (under which the company had been hit by huge cost overruns) as payback to British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his support of the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq. DOE remained mum on the story throughout the year, finally announcing the deal early this year.


THE DARK REPORT, The Dark Group, Inc. Editor-in-Chief Robert L. Michel won for a pair of stories in July and August 2004 on the development and problems with anatomic pathology laboratory condominiums. The stories gave a clear, concise description of what the labs are and how they work; why they are a fast-growing threat to the pathology profession; and why they have the potential to trigger federal healthcare agencies’ civil and criminal sanctions.


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