Alumni named finalists for Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting

March 8, 2024

Two Berkeley Journalism alums are finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, which honors the public service journalism that has made a notable impact on public policy. The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School named the eagerly anticipated finalists in an announcement Tuesday.

Brian Howey. Photo by Clara Mokri (’21).

Brian Howey (’22) is part of the reporting team that published “Unfettered Power: Mississippi Sheriffs” for Mississippi Today and The New York Times about how sheriffs have evaded the legal consequences of committing serious crimes — including alleged torture and other violence — but remained in office. Their series of reports led to the federal indictment of one former sheriff and “lit a fire under federal authorities,” with the FBI requesting the reporters’ help in reaching the victims and witnesses for interviews.

Brett Murphy

Brett Murphy (’16) is part of the ProPublica team that investigated stunning ethical evasions and conflicts of interest by members of the U.S. Supreme Court in “Friends of the Court: SCOTUS Justices’ Beneficial Relationships With Billionaire Donors.” Seeking to shed light on one of the most opaque branches of government, this reporting team used a series of unconventional reporting techniques to reveal a system that enables judges to thwart ethical oversight and conceal conflicts of interest as they rule on the country’s most consequential legal cases. Their reporting prompted investigations by the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees and led to the Supreme Court’s adoption of a code of conduct for the first time in its history.

“This year’s finalists went to extraordinary lengths to uncover the truth – mixing classic shoe-leather journalism with the kind of shrewd and scrappy reporting that inspires new generations to enter the field and seasoned reporters to stick with it,” said Nancy Gibbs, Director of the Shorenstein Center in a public announcement. “In a time of great uncertainty, these finalists remind us of journalism’s vital role in our democracy.”

The 2024 Goldsmith Prize winner will be announced at the awards ceremony, to be held April 3, 2024, at the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The in-person ceremony will be livestreamed at and

About the Goldsmith Prize

The Goldsmith Prize, first awarded in 1993, honors the best public service investigative journalism that has made an impact on local, state, or federal public policy or the practice of politics in the United States. Finalists receive $10,000, and the winner — to be announced at the April 3 ceremony — receives $25,000. All prize monies go to the journalist or team that produced the reporting.


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