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Posts Tagged ‘Rhonda Schwartz’

ABC’s Brian Ross Investigative Unit Named Goldsmith Prize Finalist

ABC News black lung reportThe ABC News investigative unit, led by Brian Ross, is one of six finalists for the 2014 Goldsmith Prize. The award is given annually by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for “investigative reporting that best promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics.”

Ross’ unit, which includes producers Matt Mosk and Rhonda Schwartz, partnered with a team of Center for Public Integrity reporters for the nominated report, “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine.” The year-long investigation found coal companies have paid millions of dollars to Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions for medical opinions that denied hundreds of mine workers black lung benefits.

Watch the report after the jump. Read more

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ABC News Investigative Team Honored For Reports on Factory Conditions in Bangladesh

ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross and three investigative producers were presented with the 2013 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism this week. Ross and Rhonda Schwartz, Matthew Mosk and Cindy Galli were honored for a series of reports on safety conditions at factories in Bangladesh which aired last year on “World News” and “Nightline.”

It is the second Hillman Prize on this topic for Ross and Schwartz. The pair won in 1992 for their reporting on NBC’s “Dateline” exposing conditions at factories used by Wal-Mart.

“We won a Hillman award for that work, and while it is a great honor to win it again at ABC News — is a true outrage that people continue to die in Bangladesh making clothes for the US market,” Ross tells TVNewser. “Sewing garments is not, and should not be, an inherently dangerous occupation, but it continues to be in Bangladesh.”

Eight people were killed Wednesday in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh. ABC News reports that the SEIU is joining public protests against Gap Inc. planned for this weekend over the dangerous working conditions in the country.

ABC News Praised for Restraint in Menendez Prostitution Reporting

On “Good Morning America” today, Brian Ross explained why the network held off for months in reporting the sex allegations against New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez even as as other news outlets went ahead with the sordid details.

Ross reports Menendez “appears to be the victim of a very dirty trick” after one woman in the Dominican Republic now says she was paid to make up a story that she’d had sex with the Senator. Ross’ story this morning showed Skype interviews done with that woman and two others, months ago. Ross and his producer Rhonda Schwartz wrote on ABCNews.com Tuesday:

Last fall, Republican operatives, who insisted on anonymity, helped arrange the woman’s appearance, along with two additional women, in back-to-back, on-line interviews with ABC News and a conservative news website, the Daily Caller. ABC News did not broadcast or initially report on the claims because of doubts about the women’s veracity and identity.

Both the Columbia Journalism Review and the Washington Post are heaping praise on ABC for their restraint. From Erik Wemple‘s blog:

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Brian Ross: ‘We Got a Rare Insight into a Chapter of American History’

rosssign_10-1.jpgTVNewser dropped by ABC News investigative correspondent Brian Ross‘ book party last night at ABC’s Times Square studios. “The Madoff Chronicles” hit store shelves this week and many of Ross’ colleagues were on hand to congratulate him last night.

ABC “World News” anchors, present and future, were there. Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer along with her husband Mike Nichols stopped by to offer their congratulations.

ABC News President David Westin described Ross as “The premier investigative reporter working today,” and said, “I think it’s also a bigger occasion to celebrate the work, in general, that you do with all of your colleagues. We at ABC news couldn’t be prouder of the work that you do.”

Ross also addressed the crowd and thanked Westin and everyone who helped him along the way including senior investigative producer Rhonda Schwartz and the rest of her team. He also added, “Finally, we have to thank Bernie and Ruth.”

GMA’s Chris Cuomo told TVNewser the turnout was a testament to how much everyone at ABC News respects Ross. Another GMAer, Sam Champion also attended along with GMA’s Senior EP Jim Murphy, EP Tom Cibrowski, and “Weekend GMA” anchor Bill Weir.

Also present, “Nightline” EP James Goldston, “Nightline” correspondent Vicki Mabrey, “World News” EP Jon Banner, correspondents Betsy Stark and Andrea Canning, and EP of ABC News magazines David Sloan.

We caught up with Ross and asked him about the current state and what the future holds for investigative journalism:

More photos from the evening after the jump:

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12 Year Later, Money Trail Still Ruffling Feathers

dnc_8-24.gifPerhaps the greatest indication of the impact of Brian Ross‘s investigative work at the Conventions occurred today when Denver police arrested one of his producer/reporters.

Ross’ investigative unit has been following the Money Trail since the 1996 political conventions. The unit heads to high priced, low profile parties put on by donors for the political elite. And apparently there are hundreds each year.

ross_8-27.jpg“You wouldn’t know about them unless you went where we went,” Ross told TVNewser today. So far the unit has seen everyone from DNC chairman Howard Dean to singer John Legend attend these events. Reports have aired all this week and will again all next week at the RNC.

Today TVNewser saw the operation in action. Senior investigative producer Rhonda Schwartz is the point person, armed with a spreadsheet of potential events, directing various teams in the field where to go and what they might encounter. (The arrest of reporter Asa Eslocker would come later in the afternoon.)

Reflecting on the series, Schwartz says, “This was the first time anyone tried to show this. And we’re still doing this and it’s still largely an ethics-free zone.”

Ross also talked to us about his other big recent story…that story about John Edwards you may have heard about…

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ABC Vet To Oversee Investigative Unit

This morning, ABC News president David Westin announced Rhonda Schwartz will now lead the investigative unit. Westin, from the press release: “Rhonda is a wonderful reporter and skilled producer whose work is a source of great pride for ABC News.”

Before ABC, Schwartz spent more than 20 years at NBC News working, at times, with ABC’s chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. Ross, himself spent 20 years at NBC, leaving in 1994.