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Ross: “television’s most visible serious investigative journalist

Sure that whole DC Madam thing didn’t turn out as juicy as ABC would have liked but whatevs

    At the very least, ABC News’ Brian Ross figured he’d find a White House official, prominent lobbyist or a congressman when he was handed a stack of phone records from a Washington, D.C. escort agency.

    Yet there wasn’t much there. Ross’ “20/20″ report earlier this month on Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman accused of running a prostitution ring catering to the capital’s elite, instead felt like one of those encounters you regret in the morning.

    Such are the risks of investigative journalism, where every promising path is as likely to end in a dead end as it is a gold mine.

    While Palfrey turned the records over to Ross to save her hide, of course, she was also paying a compliment. Ross, 58, has established himself as television’s most visible serious investigative journalist, leading a 15-member team with its own Web page, “The Blotter,” on abcnews.com and frequent reports across all of ABC’s broadcasts.

    Ross won a Peabody Award for breaking the congressional page scandal story last fall. He earned a George Polk Award in 2005 for reporting on secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe. His team has reported frequently on terrorism threats and the impact of campaign donations on the political process.

    “His reputation in the industry is excellent,” said Brant Houston, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. and a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. “He is leading the way in terms of mainstream journalism in how to use the blog effectively. It’s great to see that kind of reporting.”

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