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Hospital series wins national Sigma Delta Chi award

A 2012 investigation into the state’s nonprofit hospitals by the Observer and The News and Observer of Raleigh has won a national award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

“Prognosis: Profits” won the investigative reporting award for large newspapers in the Sigma Delta Chi competition.

The stories examined large profits at nonprofit hospitals, highlighted huge salaries for some executives, and reported on efforts by the hospitals to sue uninsured patients delinquent on their bills.

Follow-up stories revealed that hospitals were marking up prices on cancer drugs as much as 50 times over cost, and that hospitals’ acquisitions of doctors’ practices have driven up the cost of care.

In Charlotte, investigative reporter Ames Alexander and medical reporter Karen Garloch wrote the stories, which were edited by senior editor Jim Walser.

In Raleigh, investigative reporter Joseph Neff and database editor David Raynor wrote the stories, which were edited by senior editor Steve Riley.

The series was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and also has won awards from the American Society of News Editors, Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

SPJ works to inspire and educate journalists, and to protect the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.

Staff Reports

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