May 23, 2022
2022 Reporting Award Winner Announced
The award, established in 2009, supports works of journalism in any medium on significant and underreported subjects in the public interest.
Cohn will spend his time as a recipient of the award reporting on a project titled “Should College Athletes Get Paid: The Changing Economics of College Sports in a Post-Pandemic World,” exploring the consequences of changes on athletes, colleges, and society as a whole.
Stephen D. Solomon, Marjorie Deane Professor of Journalism and chair of the award committee, notes that many journalists need financial assistance in order to engage in enterprise reporting projects.
“These are the most expensive and time-consuming projects,” says Solomon, “and it’s important that they have support. There is a tremendous public benefit because these projects dig deeply and help inform the public about critical issues.”
Cohn is an investigative reporter and journalism educator based in Santa Monica, Calif. He has worked for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun, and the Los Angeles Times as well as for columnist Jack Anderson in Washington, D.C.
Many of his stories have exposed wrongdoing and resulted in significant reforms. Cohn and his colleague, Will Englund, won a 1998 Pulitzer Prize for “The Shipbreakers,” a series of stories in the Baltimore Sun that documented the dangers to workers and the environment when old warships are dismantled.
Cohn is also a two-time Pulitzer finalist for projects written for the Baltimore Sun. With Ginger Thompson, he disclosed the activities of a Honduran army unit that abducted, tortured, and murdered political suspects with the knowledge of the CIA. A second, with Douglas Birch, suggested university research on new drug therapies was being tainted by relationships with profit-seeking drug companies.
Cohn has won two Selden Ring Awards for investigative journalism, an Investigative Reporters & Editors Medal, a George Polk Award for environmental reporting, and two Overseas Press Club awards.
Cohn is a longtime adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where he was one of the editors who helped lead Annenberg’s groundbreaking 2019 Beacon Project, which is aimed at teaching the next generation of investigative reporters. He has taught courses on news writing and investigative reporting—including a recently designed class on sports investigative reporting.
Sarah Stillman, the inaugural recipient of the Reporting Award, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to report on the abuse of third-world service workers on U.S. military bases there. Her piece, “The Invisible Army,” which appeared in the June 6, 2011, issue of the New Yorker, won several of journalism’s top prizes in 2012: the National Magazine Award in the category of “Public Interest”; the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism; the Overseas Press Club’s Joe and Laurie Dine Award for International Human Rights Reporting; and the Michael Kelly Award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth.”
For more on the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, please visit its web site; for more on the Reporting Award, please visit its Carter Journalism Institute page. Applications for next year’s award will be accepted in late November 2022.