Andrew Schneider (journalist)
Schneider at the Pulitzer centennial celebration in 2016
Andrew Jay Schneider
November 13, 1942
|Died||February 17, 2017 (aged 74)|
Salt Lake City, Utah
|Known for||2-time Pulitzer Prize recipient (1986, 1987)|
|Spouse(s)||Carol Schneider (divorced)|
Andrew Jay Schneider (November 13, 1942 – February 17, 2017) was an American journalist and investigative reporter who worked for the Pittsburgh Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a public-health reporter. He received back-to-back Pulitzer Prizes while working for the Press: one in Specialized Reporting in 1986 with Mary Pat Flaherty, and another for Public Service with Matthew Brelis and the Press in 1987. Schneider also co-authored a book about an asbestos contamination incident in Libby, Montana, entitled "An Air That Kills".
Personal life and family
Schneider was born to Jack and Fran Schneider in New York City on November 13, 1942. His parents were employed at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, where father Jack worked as a chef and maître d'hôtel and mother Fran worked as a waitress; Schneider would spend most of his childhood in Miami.
Schneider married his first wife Carol, whom he later divorced. His second wife, Kathy Best, is also a journalist. She was a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before switching to editing at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. As managing editor and editor of The Seattle Times, she and the staff won two Pulitzer prizes for breaking news. The two moved together from Seattle to Missoula, Montana in 2016, after Best was named the editor of The Missoulian. Schneider had a passion for cooking and was known to cook meals for colleagues and throw dinner parties at his home while working in Washington, D.C. He has two children, including his son Patrick, a photojournalist, and two grandchildren. Schneider died on February 17, 2017, at the age of 74 due to heart failure while being treated for pulmonary disease at a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Early work and Pittsburgh Press
Schneider attended the University of Maryland and University of Miami, researching technological hazards in graduate school. He entered journalism as a freelance photographer, covering the Vietnam War for Life, Newsweek and Time. Early in his career, Schneider worked for weekly newspapers in suburban Washington, D.C. and for the Associated Press in Concord, New Hampshire.
He arrived at the Pittsburgh Press in 1984, as the paper's medical science writer. During his seven-year career at the Press, Schneider would be the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, shared with his colleagues, in back-to-back years. His first Pulitzer, 1986's Specialized Reporting prize shared with Mary Pat Flaherty, was for the series "The Challenge of a Miracle: Selling the Gift". Schneider and Flaherty began publishing the 13-article series in November 1985 after 10 months of investigation into the United States's kidney transplant system and its abuse by wealthy foreign nationals, who bypassed the long wait lists.
The following year, the Press's investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its pilot health screening practices, written by Schneider and Matthew Brelis, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The investigative series, entitled "Danger in the Cockpit", revealed that Federal Air Surgeon Frank Austin Jr. inadequately screened 250 airline pilots for debilitating and potentially fatal medical conditions, including alcohol and drug issues, allowing them to continue operating aircraft, according to Schneider. The investigation led to "significant reforms" by the FAA, including the firing and replacement of Austin.
Scripps-Howard and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Schneider left the Press in 1991, shortly before the newspaper was bought by the rival Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and ceased publication. He spent several years at the Scripps-Howard Newspapers bureau in Washington D.C. as a reporter and assistant managing editor for investigations. While assigned to a medical story in Haiti in 1994, Schneider elected to stay behind during a U.S. military intervention to cover the overthrow of the Haitian military government.
In 1997, Schneider left Scripps-Howard to join The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon. The following year, he moved to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I), beginning the first of two stints at the paper that would last six years in total. His first major assignment at the P-I was a five-month investigation of child abuse prosecutions in Wenatchee, Washington with Mike Barber in 1998. Their findings, published in the five-part series "The Power to Harm", uncovered false confessions from child witnesses and other abuses by authorities in the wrongful arrests of 43 adults, some of whom would be convicted and sentenced to prison. The newspaper's investigation led to the establishment of Innocence Project Northwest, which overturned or reduced the case's 18 verdicts, freeing all of the defendants by the end of 2000; it also convinced U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to review the cases on alleged wrongdoing by police, prosecutors and social workers. Nat Hentoff of The Village Voice argued that the investigation "deserve[d] to win the Pulitzer Prize" for its influence on Reno's decision and the overturning of convictions.
In 1999, Schneider began investigating asbestos-related deaths in Libby, Montana, for the P-I. His investigation found asbestos particles had been released by a closed vermiculite mine, causing contamination of workers' clothing. The mine operator, W.R. Grace and Company, was alleged to have known about the dangers of exposure to the asbestos processed at the Libby mine and failed to disclose the risks to workers and government agencies in a timely manner. The asbestos contamination, according to Schneider, had killed at least 192 people in Libby, including the wives and children of miners, and at least 375 people were diagnosed with potentially fatal diseases associated with asbestos. The release of the story, entitled "Uncivil Action: A Town Left to Die", gained national attention and led to litigation against W.R. Grace and the indictment of executives on federal charges of knowing endangerment, obstruction of justice, and wire fraud after the company declared bankruptcy and illegally transferred funds and assets to new companies. The Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation into the Libby mine after the release of the story, and later established a Superfund cleanup site in Libby, declaring in 2009 that the town was under a public health emergency.
St. Louis and Baltimore
Schneider continued his reporting on asbestos after leaving the P-I for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2001, uncovering asbestos-related hazards from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Schneider, along with P-I editor David McCumber, published a book of their findings entitled "An Air That Kills: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana Uncovered a National Scandal". The book, compiled from Schneider's previous investigations, also revealed that harmful asbestos-related material was in continual use in new construction and household products, and alleged that the federal government withheld the risk of asbestos-related disease after the September 11 attacks. The Libby story was later adapted in 2007 into a documentary film by PBS's P.O.V. program. Schneider and McCumber released an e-book in 2016, An Air That Still Kills, updating their findings on Libby after the EPA declared the city "safe to live in".
Schneider left the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2005, arriving at the Baltimore Sun. While at the Sun, he began an investigative series into the use of diacetyl as a food flavoring for consumer products like microwave popcorn. The chemical was found to have been causing lung-related diseases in workers at plants, including Bronchiolitis obliterans ("popcorn lung"), and, according to Schneider, put professional cooks at risk. The investigation resulted in greater recognition of diacetyl's hazards by the public, resulting in a reduction or elimination in its use by manufacturers like ConAgra.
Online media and Montana
Schneider returned to the P-I in 2007, where he stayed on as a health and food reporter with the "Secret Ingredients" column, continuing to cover the Libby asbestos case until the newspaper ceased publication in 2009. He then moved on to AOL News to cover the health risks of nanotechnology in consumer products, as well as seafood safety in the midst of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Schneider later wrote an investigative series on tainted honey shipments from China for Food Safety News and founded the blog Coldtruth.com. At the time of his death in 2017, Schneider worked part-time for Lee Montana Newspapers as a public health reporter. Schneider also co-founded the National Institute for Advanced Reporting at Indiana University in 1990 and served as its first chair.
- Schneider, Andrew; McCumber, David (2004). An Air That Kills: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana Uncovered a National Scandal. New York: Putnam. ISBN 978-0-399-15095-1. OCLC 936846766.
- Goldman, John J. (April 17, 1987). "3 for Philadelphia Inquirer: Times Wins 2 Pulitzers for Foreign Reports, Criticism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Daly, Jill (February 19, 2017). "Obituary: Andrew Jay Schneider / Investigative reporter won 2 Pulitzer Prizes in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- McCumber, David (February 18, 2017). "Two-Time Pulitzer Winner Schneider Dies at 74". The Montana Standard. Butte, MT. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best Named Next Missoulian Newsroom Leader". Missoulian. May 25, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Winners of Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters and the Arts". The New York Times. April 18, 1986. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Winners of Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters and the Arts". The New York Times. April 17, 1987. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Schneider, Andrew (December 23, 1984). "Intricate Challenge: Mercy Performs First-Ever Surgery to Repair Trauma Victim's Heart Valves". The Pittsburgh Press. p. A4. Retrieved March 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Pulitzer-Winning Pittsburgh Press Story on Kidney Transplantation". Photo Archives of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 5, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Leonard, Vince (April 17, 1987). "Double Honors: Press Wins Its Second Straight Pulitzer Prize". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 5. Retrieved March 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Schneider, Andrew; Brelis, Matthew (November 18, 1986). "FAA Hits Air Surgeon's Idea of Mended Pilots". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- Corcoran, Katherine (November 1991). "Pitfalls". American Journalism Review. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Gersh Hernandez, Debra (September 24, 1994). "Press Pool Was Ready to Go". Editor & Publisher. 127 (39). Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Journalists Win SPJ Awards". The Seattle Times. May 18, 1997. p. B2. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Reno to Review Wenatchee Child-Sex Investigations". Kitsap Sun. Bremerton, WA. Associated Press. March 6, 1998. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Beck, Katherine (October 28, 2004). "Wenatchee Witch Hunt: Child Sex Abuse Trials in Douglas and Chelan Counties". HistoryLink. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Hentoff, Nat (April 21, 1998). "A Town Possessed by Satan". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Schneider, Andrew (November 18, 1999). "A Town Left to Die". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on February 6, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Schneider, Andrew (February 7, 2005). "W.R. Grace Indicted in Libby Asbestos Deaths". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved February 19, 2017 – via Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- Juskalian, Russ (July 10, 2009). "Grace-ful Coverage". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Audio Interview: Breaking the Story". POV: Libby, Montana. PBS. 2007. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Schneider, Andrew (April 27, 2000). "Grace Backs Off Pledge to Clean Up Asbestos". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on February 6, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Fahrenthold, David A. (June 18, 2009). "EPA to Pay Health Bills for People Sickened by Asbestos from Montana Mine". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Stranahan, Susan Q. (February 8, 2005). "Relentless Reporting, Year After Year After Year". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- Clifford, Frank (April 25, 2004). "Death in the Air". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- Hale, Mike (August 28, 2007). "Asbestos, Hidden in Plain Sight". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
- "Announcing the New Book An Air That Still Kills: Research Shows Abnormally Toxic Asbestos in Millions of Homes, EPA Remains Silent" (Press release). Cold Truth Publishing. May 4, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2017 – via PRWeb.
- "Book on Libby Asbestos Wins National Ebook Award". The Missoulian. October 7, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "Nightline: Killer in Town". Vanderbilt Television News Archive. Vanderbilt University. November 4, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- Schneider, Andrew (December 20, 2007). "Flavoring Additive Puts Professional Cooks at Risk". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "ConAgra to Drop Popcorn Chemical Linked to Lung Ailment". USA Today. Associated Press. September 5, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "Secret Ingredients". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on March 26, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "The Nanotech Gamble: AOL News' Key Findings". AOL News. March 24, 2010. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- Schneider, Andrew (June 29, 2010). "Who's Making Sure Gulf Seafood Safe to Eat?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- Marler, Bill (February 19, 2017). "Andrew Schneider, Great Journalist and Great Guy, Passes". Food Safety News. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- Philpott, Tom (November 7, 2011). "Honey Laundering". Mother Jones. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "Pulitzer Prize Journalist Andrew Schneider Announced as Keynote Speaker at the International Asbestos Awareness Conference on March 28 in Manhattan Beach, CA" (PDF) (Press release). Redondo Beach, California: Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. March 2, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2017.