LA Times wins Loeb for series on used-car lots

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A Los Angeles Times reporter on Tuesday won a Loeb award, business journalism's top honor, for a series of stories exposing the dubious business practices of "Buy Here Pay Here" used car lots.

Ken Bensinger's three-part "Wheels of Fortune" series showed how the dealers lure the least creditworthy buyers and charge steep interest rates on loans. The dealers still profit even if a buyer fails to keep up on loan payments because the dealers can repossess and resell the vehicle.

The series won in the category for large newspaper. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won two Loebs, one for medium-sized newspapers and another for beat reporting.

The Morning Call of Allentown, Penn., took the prize for small newspapers for a story on how Amazon.com Inc. treats its local warehouse workers. Fortune won in the magazine category for a story on the "palace coup" that led drugmaker Pfizer Inc. to replace its CEO.

The Loeb Awards have been presented for 39 years by Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. They were established in 1957 by Gerald Loeb, a financier and founding partner of E.F. Hutton, to encourage quality reporting in business, finance and the economy.

This year's Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jerry Seib, deputy managing editor and Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. The Lawrence Minard Editor Award went to Winnie O'Kelley, deputy business editor of The New York Times.

Reuters reporters Brian Grow, Kelly Carr, Laurence Fletcher, Nanette Byrnes, Matthew Bigg, Joshua Schneyer, Cynthia Johnston and Sara Ledwith won the award for in the category news services for "Shell Games," a series exploring the extent and impact of corporate secrecy in the U.S.

Associated Press reporter Jeff Donn was a finalist in the category for the story "Aging Nukes" on the state of the country's nuclear reactors. The AP's Kevin Freking, Michael Hill, Danny Robbins, Tammy Webber, Peter Jackson and Jeffrey Collins were also finalists for "Broken Budgets," a joint initiative by the AP and Associated Press Media Editors on the fiscal crisis facing U.S. states and cities.

This year's awards were presented at a dinner in Manhattan. The full list of winners by category:

— Large Newspapers: Ken Bensinger of Los Angeles Times for "Wheels of Fortune."

— Medium & Small Newspapers: Raquel Rutledge, Rick Barrett, John Diedrich, Ben Poston and Mike de Sisti of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for "Shattered Trust." Spencer Soper and Scott Kraus of The Morning Call for "Inside Amazon's Warehouse."

— Magazines: Peter Elkind, Jennifer Reingold and Doris Burke of Fortune for "Inside Pfizer's Palace Coup."

— Commentary: Zanny Minton Beddoes, Edward Carr, John Peet, Patrick Foulis and John O'Sullivan of The Economist for "Euro Zone,"

— Breaking News: Brent Snavely, Greg Gardner and Chrissie Thompson of Detroit Free Press for "GM-UAW Contract Negotiations"

— Beat Reporting: John Fauber of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for "'Side Effects' Beat Reporting."

— News Services: Brian Grow, Kelly Carr, Laurence Fletcher, Nanette Byrnes, Matthew Bigg, Joshua Schneyer, Cynthia Johnston and Sara Ledwith of Reuters for "Shell Games."

— Explanatory: Scott Pelley, Robert G. Anderson, Daniel Ruetenik, Robert J. Shattuck and Nicole Young of CBS News 60 Minutes for "The Next Housing Shock."

— Online Enterprise: Mark Maremont, Tom McGinty, Jon Keegan, Palani Kumanan, Sarah Slobin and Neil King Jr. of The Wall Street Journal for "Jet Tracker."

— Blogging: Felix Salmon of Reuters for "Felix Salmon's Blog."

— Personal Finance: Penelope Wang, Kim Clark and Lisa Gibbs of Money for "'Protecting Your Parents' Series"

— Broadcast Enterprise: Laura Sydell and Alex Blumberg of NPR and This American Life for "When Patents Attack."

— Business Books Winner: Walter Isaacson for "Steve Jobs" published by Simon & Schuster.

— Business Books Honorable Mention: Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo for "Poor Economics" published by PublicAffairs.

View Comments