Loretta Tofani's "American Imports, Chinese Deaths" series was awarded the 2007 Investigative Reporters and Editors' Gold Medal for medium sized newspapers.
Judges' comments: This ambitious project shows that the mundane creature comforts of American lives have debilitating and sometimes deadly consequences for the people of China who make them. Freelance reporter Tofani and The Salt Lake Tribune take readers to manufacturing plants where young workers touch and inhale carcinogens without gloves, masks or proper ventilation in order to make cheap products that are shipped to America. Through powerful writing, tenacious investigative reporting in often dangerous situations, Tofani exposes the abuse of Chinese workers while American industry conveniently fails to discover bogus safety audits and fake record keeping. Over 15 months of reporting, freelance reporter Tofani analyzed hundreds of pages of records written in Chinese and gained the trust of workers in a closed society. We are inspired by her determination, impressed with her precision and awed by the compassion she brought to this important work.
Tofani has been named the winner of the 2008 Michael Kelly Award for "American Imports, Chinese Deaths." The $25,000 award "honors a writer or editor whose work exemplifies a quality that animated Michael Kelly's career: the fearless pursuit and expression of truth." Loretta was chosen from over 50 journalists for 2007 published work in U.S. newspapers and magazines.
Tofani was awarded the Society of Professional Journalists' 2007 Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative reporting. "Year after year, the winners of the Sigma Delta Chi awards represent the very best journalism has to offer," said SPJ President Clint Brewer. (SPJ Press Release)
Tofani was named a finalist for the 2008 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. This award honors journalists "who best display moral, ethical or physical courage in pursuit of a story."
Tofani was named one of six finalists for the 2008 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. The award "honors journalism which promotes more effective and ethical conduct of government, the making of public policy, or the practice of politics by disclosing excessive secrecy, impropriety and mismanagement, or instances of particularly commendable government performance," stated the Shorenstein Center in a press release.
Tofani was awarded a "special citation" of $2,000 as one of 7 finalists for the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting. The award "is unique among journalism prizes in that it was created specifically to honor cross-border investigative reporting." (Center for Public Integrity press release) The decision was announced on September 13, 2008 at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Norway.