ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 4, 2005) -- The Los Angeles Times received the 2005 Ursula and Gilbert Farfel Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting, a $25,000 award recognizing the finest investigative reporting by print media in the United States, during the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Awards at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 15, for its five-part series investigating the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. Ohio University President Roderick McDavis presented the prize.
The Los Angeles Times' team of reporters (Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein, Mitchell Landsberg and Steve Hymon) spent a year investigating the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center after continuing problems there. They discovered the medical center was even worse than feared. Their investigation revealed not just a series of isolated tragedies - patients dying and injured by neglect and misdiagnosis - but a pattern of bad medicine endemic to the hospital. And, contrary to public opinion, it was not underfunded.
As a result of the Times' reporting, elected officials have finally initiated a restructuring of the hospital's operations with an outside team. Both state and federal regulators are now demanding that safety procedures be enforced.
Single journalists or teams from print media who covered a story completely and raised public consciousness and/or awareness about a topic were eligible for the annual award. In addition to receiving a cash award, the Prize-winning team from the Times will serve as visiting professionals in Ohio University's College of Communication.
The Farfels, who now reside in San Jose, Calif., married in 1960. The former Ursula Beatrice Feer earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio University in 1956 and a master's degree from Rice University in Houston. She taught at a Houston high school and worked in The Cleveland Museum of Art's library. She was born in Maine, and her family moved to Switzerland when she was 9 years old before settling in Cleveland.
Gilbert S. Farfel, who grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., was a member of the Department of Internal Medicine at Permanente Medical Group of Northern California from 1964 until his retirement in 1992. He earned his bachelor's degree from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia.
More information on the Farfel Prize is available on the Web at www.ohio.edu/farfelprize.
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