Sedona AZ (November 2, 2016) – “The Election’s Over, Now What? A Look Ahead at Politics and Policy” is the topic that will be addressed by two time Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist James B. Steele at a special luncheon organized by the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley on Thursday, November 17, 11:30-1PM at the Sedona Elks Lodge, 100 Airport Rd, Sedona.
James B. Steele is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and one of the nation’s most honored and widely acclaimed journalists. He has received 50 national reporting awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine awards for work in partnership with Donald L. Barlett. Together they co-authored eight books, two of which were New York Times best sellers. Their 2012 book, The Betrayal of the American Dream, tells how America’s middle class has been impoverished by public policymakers and the nation’s economic elite, and has been called by the Los Angeles Times “essential reading to anyone trying to make sense of our country’s current malaise.”
Steele began his career covering labor, politics and urban affairs as a reporter for The Kansas City Star before joining The Philadelphia Inquirer. There he began a collaboration with Barlett that was to continue for more than four decades, first at The Inquirer (1971-1996), then at TIME (1997-2006) and later at Vanity Fair (2006-2012). Steele has continued to write for Vanity Fair independently since 2012.
Steele has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in his partnership with Barlett: The Internal Revenue Service’s unequal tax collection methods, the failure of American foreign aid programs, the influence of money in Congress, the economic assault on the American middle class, the inner workings of a secretive American defense contractor, the disappearance of billions of U.S. dollars at the outset of the Iraqi war, Monsanto’s intimidation of American farmers and the globalization of clinical trials by the pharmaceutical industry.
The Washington Journalism Review has called Steele and Barlett “almost certainly the best team in the history of investigative reporting.” Their work was best described by Leonard Downie Jr., the longtime executive editor of the Washington Post, in his book, The New Muckrakers: An Inside Look at America’s Investigative Reporters. Downie wrote that the journalism of Barlett and Steele “represents a significant step beyond traditional muckraking. . . .instead of just reporting still unproven accusations and focusing on individual corruption, (they reveal) with expert analysis and thorough documentation what has systematically gone wrong with the powerful, complex institutions that affect so much of life today.”
Steele and Barlett pioneered the use of reporting methods that are now standard in the profession. In 1972 they used a computer to analyze more than 1,000 cases of violent crime in Philadelphia. Their series for The Inquirer, “Crime and Injustice, ” was the largest computer-assisted project of its time and was widely copied by other journalists.
The University of Missouri singled out Steele and Barlett with its Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism in 1983, citing them for “their standard-setting development of investigative techniques and documentation, including their pioneer use of computers . . .their ability to unearth the complete story, far beyond what most journalists typically would call complete, and their fairness and accuracy, and unusual ability to unravel complex issues in ways readers can understand.”
New York University’s School of Journalism in 1999 named their 1991 series of articles for The Philadelphia Inquirer, “America: What Went Wrong?” one of the 100 top works of American journalism in the twentieth century. In 2015, the U.S. organization of investigative journalists – Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) — honored them with its first ever Founders Award for their pioneering work.
The team’s Pulitzer Prizes were awarded for national reporting in 1975 and 1989; their National Magazine awards for public interest in 1999 and 2001. Steele and Barlett are the only reporting team to have won two Pulitzers for newspaper work and two National Magazine awards for magazine work.
Steele and Barlett spent more than three years in the research and writing of “The Betrayal of the American Dream” which is the distillation of their work chronicling the plight of the American middle class for more than three decades. Twenty years ago, they warned in America: What Went Wrong? that federal policies were dismantling the middle class. But, according to Jim Steele, “We vastly underestimated how quickly the nation’s economic elite would consolidate their power and undermine the economic lives of virtually everyone else. This book tells how it happened: how trade policies bought and paid for by major corporations have wiped out millions of good-paying jobs; how Congress allowed companies to kill 85,000 pension plans in the last generation; and how the rich went from paying 51 percent of their income in federal taxes in the 1950s to 16 percent in our time.” The book is a call for a return to a balance in policies so that everyone may have an opportunity to realize the American dream.
A Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University in 2010 and 2015, Steele has spoken widely to professional groups and university audiences. In honor of his contributions to journalism, Temple University this year created a chair in his name at its school of communications, the James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation.
$20 includes buffet lunch and reservations are required. Contact Barbara Litrell, 649-0135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.