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James Gentry
William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications
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Investigative reporter will discuss 'Betrayal' at KU

Tue, 03/05/2013

LAWRENCE — Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter James B. Steele will present a lecture on his book, “Betrayal of the American Dream,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas. He will sign copies of the book afterward. The event is being presented by Student Union Activities.

Steele and his reporting partner Donald L. Barlett have worked together for more than four decades and won scores of national journalism awards. In addition to the two Pulitzers, they have won two National Magazine Awards, making them the first journalists in history to win both the Pulitzer for newspaper work and its magazine equivalent. Barlett and Steele, who are now contributing editors at Vanity Fair magazine, also have written eight books.

Writing of “The Betrayal of the American Dream,” The New York Times Book Review said, “Barlett and Steele… have some intelligent things to say about the unfairness and impenetrability of the American tax code, which favors the wealthy and allows dangerous accounting for corporate pension liabilities…. The book is strongest, and most useful, when it recounts the poignant stories of workers left out in the cold, chilling examples of exactly how far members of the middle class have fallen. The book will undoubtedly make you angry.” 

The book has 4 ½ stars on the Amazon rating system and was a New York Times best-seller.

The Washington Journalism Review has said of Barlett and Steele that “they are almost certainly the best team in the history of investigative reporting.” James H. Dygert, in his book, “The Investigative Journalist: Folk Heroes of a New Era,” described them as “perhaps the most systematic and thorough investigative reporting team in the United States.”

And Steve Weinberg, in the book “Investigative Reporting,” wrote that “(Barlett and Steele) believe people really should be treated equally, that the playing field should be level, that government should not favor one group over another, that private-sector entities should be watched as closely as the public sector.”

In 1972, Barlett and Steele pioneered in the use of reporting methods now standard in the profession when they used a computer to analyze more than 1,000 cases of violent crime in Philadelphia. The resulting series, “Crime and Injustice,” was the largest computer-assisted project of its time and was widely replicated by other journalists for years afterward.

Their 1992 book, “America: What Went Wrong,” was a New York Times best-seller.

 



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