2017 Awards

The 2017 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School has been awarded to Shane Bauer of Mother Jones for his investigative report “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard.” Bauer spent four months working as a guard to get a deep look inside the secretive world of private prisons, exposing mismanagement. Within a few weeks, the Department of Justice announced it would end its use of private prisons and the Department of Homeland Security said it would consider doing the same. “The judges agonized over this year’s decision,” said Shorenstein Center Director Nicco Mele. “Ultimately, the Mother Jones piece was an exceptional piece of reporting that deserved special attention and recognition. It was a brave and unusual story, full of challenges that were deftly navigated in the finest tradition of deep reporting.”

Additionally, the Shorenstein Center awarded the Career Award for Excellence in Journalism to Jorge Ramos. The Goldsmith Book Prizes were awarded to James T. Hamilton for Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism and David Greenberg for Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.

Ceremony Date

March 2, 2017


The Goldsmith Prizes are funded by an annual gift from the Goldsmith Fund of the Greenfield Foundation.

2017 Award and Prize Winners

Finalists for Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize

  • Finalist, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

    The Downfall of Theranos

  • Finalist, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

    Bias on the Bench

  • Finalist, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

    California National Guard Enlistment Bonus Scandal

  • Finalist, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

    Dangerous Doses

  • Finalist, Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

    Doctors & Sex Abuse


Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center, chaired the meeting and served as a judge. Judges recused themselves from voting on entries from their employer. The 2017 Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize judges were:

Audra Burch

Enterprise and investigative reporter at the Miami Herald and 2015 Goldsmith Prize winner

Mike Greenfield

Trustee of the Greenfield Foundation (financial supporters of the Goldsmith Awards Program)

Davan Maharaj

Editor-in-chief and publisher at the Los Angeles Times

Nicco Mele

Director of the Shorenstein Center

Sacha Pfeiffer

Reporter at The Boston Globe and 2003 Goldsmith Prize winner