Bee wins finalist honors for two series

Scripps Howard recognizes 'Chief's Disease' and 'Seeds of Doubt' projects.

Bee Metro Staff

Published Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Bee's coverage of public pension abuse and of the unfulfilled promises of biotechnology both took finalist honors Friday in annual national awards from the Scripps Howard Foundation.

In investigative reporting, the judges recognized Bee reporters John Hill and Dorothy Korber for their series of September stories on "Chief's Disease," the penchant by top California Highway Patrol bosses to file for lucrative medical pensions shortly before they reach retirement age.

The stories led to reforms within the CHP and pending legislation to crack down on fraud. They also touched off subsequent Bee investigations, included in the Scripps commendation, on workers' compensation judges prone to workers' comp injuries and on pension spiking tactics in state government.

The Los Angeles Times took the top place in the investigative category for exposing the deep and continuing problems at an urban hospital. Sharing finalist honors with The Bee was the New York Times.

The investigative prize seeks to "encourage the media to continue investigative reporting activities that are not covered normally or in depth."

For environmental reporting, "Seeds of Doubt," a Bee series about biotechnology - particularly genetically modified food - was named one of three finalists. The stories, published in June, were written by reporters Tom Knudson, Edie Lau and Mike Lee.

"Seeds of Doubt" shared finalist honors with the Denver Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Sun won the award for a yearlong investigation into environmental threats to the foothills and mountains above San Bernardino.