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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Hamby’

Center for Public Integrity Responds: ‘Unfortunate PR Campaign by ABC News’

publici-icon-300x300The war of words between ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity is heating up.

CPI’s executive director Bill Buzenberg doesn’t mince words responding to ABC News President Ben Sherwood‘s request that the two organizations share CPI’s Pulitzer Prize.

“Thank you for your letter of last night regarding the black lung investigation, which was also sent to our full Board of Directors and the news media. I have to assume this is all part of an unfortunate PR campaign by ABC News,” Buzenberg writes.

He adds that ABC News joined the coal-mining industry investigation–one that resulted in Johns Hopkins shuttering their black-lung program, and congressional action–halfway through, and produced “sporadic” reporting geared toward TV, not print.

“Not true,” ABC SVP for Communications Jeffrey Schneider responds to TVNewser. “We were invited to join this investigation by the former executive director at the outset, which was October 2012.”

Schneider adds examples of joint reporting: “Many of our stories on ABC.com are bylined by Chris [Hamby], although he didn’t write them. Many of our on-air reports list him as a producer, even though he didn’t shoot anything, conduct on-camera interviews, or spend a moment in the editing booth.”

“ABC was a wonderful coalition partner, and did great television, but the Pulitzer Prize is specifically for print and digital companies,” Buzenberg tells TVNewser. “It’s not a TV award. They didn’t write the 2500-word story, written entirely by Chris Hamby.”

Buzenberg also included a response from Pulitzer Administrator Sig Gissler.

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ABC News Asking Center for Public Integrity to Share Pulitzer Prize

ABC-News-Logo-1ABC News is calling on the Center for Public Integrity to share their Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism, awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby, taking issue with CPI’s Pulitzer submission that depicts ABC News as a minor partner in a year-long coal-mining industry investigation instead of equal partners.

“You seem to be determined that ABC was simply a megaphone for Chris Hamby’s work,” ABC President Ben Sherwood wrote in a four-page letter to CPI executive director William Buzenberg yesterday, adding that in CPI’s submission, they “omitted the names of ABC News reporters and sought to parse and diminish their contributions.”

Buzenberg isn’t conceding: “ABC is seeking to take credit for a large body of work that it did not produce,” he said in a draft response to Sherwood, POLITICO reports.

“That is a lie, that is an absolute lie,” ABC News SVP for Communications Jeffrey Schneider tells TVNewser in response to Buzenberg. “We take great exception to the CPI submission that diminished our work almost to the point of nonexistence, and took complete credit for this joint investigation which had so much impact,” Schneider continued.

The investigation placing ABC and CPI at odds exposed doctors and lawyers conspiring with the coal industry to deny sick miners their black-lung medical benefits. The report caused the famed Johns Hopkins Hospital to suspend its black-lung program; Congress also sought to craft legislation to help sick miners.

“We believe that Chris Hamby deserves a Pulitzer Prize for his work,” Schneider added. “What we take great exception to is Bill Buzenberg suggesting ABC had little to do with this reporting. We were invited to take part in this work before he was named executive director at CPI.”

The two organizations have recently shared awards on the coal-mining industry story. Last month, the Harvard Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting was awarded to reporters from both news outlets; next month the White House Correspondents Association will also honor both.

Sherwood’s full letter to CPI’s executive director after the jump.

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