Dodge wins Silver ASBPE Award for Investigative/News Analysis

Here’s my most recent journalistic fruit salad, which I shared with my colleagues at Securities Industry News (now Securities Technology Monitor).

The accolade is the ASBPE’s (American Society of Business Publication Editors) 2009 Silver Award for News Analysis/Investigative and relates to the story I did on how Bernie Madoff’s aging technology cranked out phony statements, trade confirmations and other docs that convinced clients he was legit.

We all know now he was biggest thief of the decade.

STM editor-in-chief Tom Steinert-Threlkeld mailed the award to me after an American Society of Business Publishing Editors (ASBPE) dinner in New York last week. That was above and beyond because sometimes freelance writers (me) are forgotten in journalism’s beauty contests.

Tom or “TST” as he is known came up with the idea for the story late last summer and supported me all the way in two months of reporting. He did a brilliant job of editing the 4,000-word manuscript when I filed it in late October of last year.

Also on the plaque are SourceMedia Group editorial director John McCormick and the publication’s art director Fritz Laurore. Sourcemedia owns STM and before that, Securities Industry News.

Who what were the key sources in the story? First and foremost, former Madoff IT project manager Bob McMahon showed a lot of guts speaking out. Nader Ibrahim who worked on Madoff’s support desk was helpful, too. Author and journalist Erin Arvelund, who wrote Too Good to be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff, steered me in a couple of key directions.

And yes, a data forensics expert with exactly the same name as me – John Dodge of Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, talked about how computers are searched for evidence.

The story goes to show that journalism is alive, well and necessary.

Here’s the blurb in the SourceMedia press release. Its stable of publications won a total of five ASBPE Awards (TST won “Regional Gold” for two of his columns).

“National Silver, Investigative Reporting, “How Bernie Made Basket Cases of
His Customers’ Accounts,” published Nov. 2, 2009. A six-week investigation by
technology journalist and contributing editor John Dodge on the information systems
and process Bernard Madoff used to fake “baskets” of trades put into his customers’
account statements in his multi-billion dollar fraud.”

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