Bloomberg Senior Writer David Evans Receives the 2011 John Chancellor Award

An investigative reporter whose work has revealed how secret profit schemes cheated the families of fallen U.S. soldiers, sickened or killed patients and cost taxpayers billions of dollars is the recipient of the 2011John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced today. David Evans, senior writer for Bloomberg Markets magazine, was selected in recognition of his tenacious reporting over two decades on stories that expose wrongdoing and bring about reform.

2011 Chancellor Award Winner David Evans

Image credit: Stephanie Diani

September 27, 2011

The John Chancellor Award is presented each year to a reporter for his or her cumulative accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtimeNBC News anchor John Chancellor. A nine-member committee selected Evans for the award, which bestows a $25,000 prize for the winner. The award will be presented at a dinner at Columbia University’s Low Library in New York on November 16, 2011.

“From the financial crisis to the pharmaceutical industry, David Evans breaks stories and then goes further to uncover corruption in the public interest,” said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school and chair of the award’s selection committee. “Evans’ work is truly original and an example of the best of journalism. He embodies the spirit of the John Chancellor Award.”

About the 2011 Chancellor Awardee

Evans has a history of reporting stories that are timely and effect change. He was a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting for “Duping the Families of Fallen Soldiers,” which revealed how life insurance companies were profiting off of death benefits owed to families of military veterans, as well as other Americans. Issuing “checkbooks” instead of lump sum payments, the insurance companies were collecting interest on the death benefits in amounts up to eight times higher than what was being paid out to the beneficiaries of the accounts. The investigation has led to government investigations and remedial changes.

His work has taken him behind the scenes at businesses, schools, hospitals and government agencies and shed light on rampant corruption. Evans’ reporting has highlighted practices that affect peoples’ lives in negative ways they might not expect.

He was the first reporter to discover that the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies were skirting FDA regulations to conduct clinical trials of experimental drugs. He discovered that the FDA was allowing the pharmaceutical companies to pay independent firms to monitor the safety of the clinical trials, resulting in no oversight. Thousands of people in the U.S. fell ill or died during the trials. Congress opened an investigation into the FDA process. Rules were changed at the FDA and now it directly reviews all clinical trials.

“Over the past decade, Evans’ articles have consistently provided the kind of public service that distinguishes journalism,” said Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.

A graduate of the University of Southern California Law Center, Evans spent five years prosecuting fraud for the U.S. government as a trial attorney for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission before transitioning into journalism. He has worked for Bloomberg News since 1992, and has been on the staff at Bloomberg Markets magazine since 2002.

The John Chancellor Award was established in 1995 by Ira A. Lipman, founder and chairman of Guardsmark, LLC, one of the world's largest security service firms. In addition to Lipman and Dean Lemann, the selection panel includes journalists Steve Capus, Ellis Cose, John L. Dotson Jr., Hank Klibanoff, Michele Norris, and Lynn Sherr, as well as John Chancellor’s daughter Mary Chancellor.

To learn more about the John Chancellor Award and this year’s awardee, David Evans, please visit the John Chancellor Award website.