Gender Gap Gone?

Women reign at 2009 Goldsmith investigative reporting awards

(Columbia Journalism Review) When the team of Washington Post investigative reporters gathered in their editor's office to put the finishing touches on a groundbreaking series on egregious housing violations in the nation's capital, one thing caught their attention: all the people in the room were women. In a measure of how far women have come in the top ranks of journalism, it didn't seem out of the ordinary to them. It was all in a day's work.

The dogged reporting skills of Debbie Cenziper and Sarah Cohen earned them one of journalism's highest (and most lucrative) honors, the $25,000 2009 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, awarded Tuesday night by Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. The investigative editor for the Post series was newspaper veteran Barbara Vobjeda and their Metro researcher was-you guessed it-a young woman named Meg Smith.

"We noticed it at the end. We were all huddled in Barbara's office and looked around the room and saw all women," recalled Cenziper, who came to the Post eighteen months ago after a five-year stint at the Miami Herald. While there, she won a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for a year-long series on housing corruption-a series that was also a Goldsmith prize finalist that year. "I've always worked for very strong, very competent women. So it's not new for me," said the thirty-eight-year-old Cenziper. Her older colleague Cohen, an expert in database reporting who shared in the Post's 2002 Pulitzer for investigative reporting and was a 2007 Goldsmith finalist, agreed.

Author: Cristine Russell