Best Reporter, Newspaper

Ken Armstrong and Michael J. Berens

Ken Armstrong was our pick last year, and he's back with a co-champ—something that just couldn't be helped after he and Michael J. Berens teamed to sweep up so many major awards, including the Selden Ring and the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, for their Seattle Times series "Methadone and the Politics of Pain." (Justin Mayo also contributed.) The three-part series found that state health officials had disregarded repeated warnings about methadone's unique risks, insisting it was just as safe as any other painkiller. But by analyzing thousands of state death records and other data, the reporters determined that at least 2,173 people died in Washington state between 2003 and 2011 after accidentally overdosing on methadone, which was one of the state's two preferred painkillers for Medicaid patients and recipients of workers' compensation. It's a series that brought about major changes in the way the state uses methadone, and achieved the highest calling of journalism: It flat-out saved lives. RICK ANDERSON

comments powered by Disqus