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The Center for Public Integrity and NPR News received a finalist citation for the 2012 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. The two organizations collaborated on a major air pollution investigation called Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities. The first-place award went to the Associated Press for a series on the the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks

The Goldsmith Prize is conferred by the Joan Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. The Investigative Reporting prize honors the journalist or journalists whose investigative reporting in a story or series of related stories best promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics.

The other Goldsmith finalists, who each won $10,000, were:

— ABC News’ ”20/20,” for an investigation that uncovered a failure to protect Peace Corps volunteers who fell victim to sex abuse and that prompted a new law.

— The CBS affiliate in Houston, KHOU-TV, for uncovering extreme contamination in Texas drinking water and finding that radiation lab test results were lowered wrongfully.

The New York Times, for an effort revealing state workers who beat or sexually abused developmentally disabled people kept their jobs, leading New York’s governor to force out two top state officials.

— ProPublica and The Washington Post, for an analysis of the Justice Department’s presidential pardon recommendations during George W. Bush’s administration that showed racial bias and other problems.

The judges also recognized Bloomberg News with a citation for an effort that revealed how the Federal Reserve gave a trillion dollars in bailout loans to Wall Street’s biggest banks.

“It is a distinct honor for the Center for Public Integrity and our partner NPR to be a finalist for a Goldsmith Prize, one of the top journalism awards in the country,” said Executive Director William E. Buzenberg. “Our year-long investigation clearly shows how toxic air pollution menaces communities across the country, and how state and federal regulators have not done enough to address this threat to the health of millions of citizens.”

Two decades ago, Congress sought to protect Americans from nearly 200 dangerous chemicals in the air they breathe. That goal remains unfulfilled. Today, many communities are still exposed to the pollutants, which can cause cancer, birth defects and other health issues. A secret EPA ‘watch list’ underscores what government knows about the threat — and how little it has done to address it.

The team consisted of Jim Morris, lead reporter; data analysts Elizabeth Lucas (CPI) and Robert Benincasa (NPR); reporters Chris Hamby, Ronnie Greene, Kristen Lombardi, Corbin Hiar (CPI), Howard Berkes, Sandra Bartlett and Elizabeth Shogren (NPR); Images and video: Emma Schwartz (CPI), John Poole and David Gilkey (NPR); Web team: Cole Goins, Ajani Winston, Sarah Whitmire, Erik Lincoln (CPI) and Alicia Cypress and Nelson Hsu (NPR); Research: Barbara Van Woerkom (NPR) and Devorah Adler (CPI); Data editor: David Donald; NPR editor: Susanne Reber; CPI Project editor: Keith Epstein. Also contributing: Rachael Marcus, Paul Abowd, Alexandra Duszak (CPI) and Quinn Ford (NPR).

Members of the Investigative News Network also worked on related stories in the investigation: Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Investigate West, Tucson Sentinel, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

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