A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SDX Awards: Online, investigative reporting, Newsweek

By Quill

When Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball write, the world reads.

Between them, the investigative correspondents boast more than 20 years with Newsweek. Previously, the pair covered everything from the Florida election recount to the Enron scandal to the Monica Lewinsky scandal to the death of Princess Diana.

For 2004, the team wrote “Terror Watch,” its weekly, Web-only column, providing exclusive reports on the U.S. government’s war on terror. Throughout the year, the pair repeatedly broke news and shed light on important trends.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials, congressional staffers and other media organizations – they were all reading.

In several reports, Isikoff and Hosenball kept a close eye on Ahmad Chalabi, the White House’s favorite candidate to take charge of the new Iraq. Posted June 2 in “Tip of the Iceberg”:

The Iraqi exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi – formerly a key ally of the Bush administration – is suspected of leaking confidential information about U.S. war plans for Iraq to the government of Iran before last year’s invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, government sources told Newsweek.

The allegation that Chalabi may have supplied the Iranians information about U.S. military plans comes on the heels of recent disclosures that Chalabi or others in his organization may have compromised more recent U.S. intelligence operations by leaking what officials initially described as “extremely sensitive” and “highly classified” information to Iranian officials – information which could “get people killed” if abused by the Iranians.

For several other weeks, Isikoff and Hosenball tracked the circuitous flow of money to terrorist organizations. On March 3, the pair posted “Nobody’s Nagging,” which reported that several businessmen labeled as terrorist financiers by the United States were operating in Europe largely unregulated. The team’s reporting found the Saudi Embassy and a U.S.-backed Islamic charity filtering funds to terrorists.

“‘Terror Watch’ is a great compliment to the magazine and opens eyes to important issues,” said the judges. “The column’s strengths are evident by the depth of the reporting and the way the writers attack the issue.”