David Barstow

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David Barstow
David Barstow May 2004 2.jpg
Born (1963-01-21) January 21, 1963 (age 56)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
EmployerNew York Times

David Barstow (born January 21, 1963) is an American journalist. He has won four Pulitzer Prizes since 2005, all connected to his work with The New York Times, and was a three-time finalist for a Pulitzer Prize during the 1990s, while reporting for St. Petersburg Times .

Life and work[edit]

Born in Boston, he received a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1986. Barstow has worked for The New York Times since 1999, and has been an investigative reporter there since 2002.

He worked for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, where he was a finalist for three Reporting Pulitzers: spot news reporting in 1997, investigative reporting in 1998; and explanatory journalism in 1998 (now called explanatory reporting).[1]

The New York Times won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, citing "the work of David Barstow and Lowell Bergman that relentlessly examined death and injury among American workers and exposed employers who break basic safety rules."[2]

In 2009, Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for work with the Times, citing "his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended."[3]

One of three stories submitted for the Investigative Reporting Pulitzer was "Message Machine: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand" (April 20, 2008).[3] Barstow reported that the Department of Defense recruited over 75 retired military officers, some with undisclosed ties to defense contractors, to appear on major news outlets as military analysts commenting on the Iraq war and the case in its favor.[4] He wrote, "Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse—an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks." Although the Pentagon initially issued a statement exonerating the program, the Pentagon inspector general's office later said it was flawed, and the statement was withdrawn.[5]

Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab shared the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Gerald Loeb Award for Investigative business journalism for exposing how Wal-Mart used bribery to dominate the market in Mexico.[6][7]

For his reporting as part of a New York Times investgative team that showed how the future President Donald Trump and his family avoided paying roughly half a billion dollars in taxes,[8] Barstow shared the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting with Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner.[9] Soon after the team received the prize, it emerged that Barstow had alienated his colleagues by attempting to enter into an agreement to ghostwrite a book with one of their most secret sources, which would be a violation of the Times' ethical guidelines. Moreover, Barstow had greatly upset the source by making an unannounced visit to their apartment, possibly putting their relationship with the team at risk.[10] Several subsequent New York Times stories about the Trump family's finances appeared under the bylines of Craig and Buettner, but not Barstow's. In July, 2019, Barstow left the Times to assume a role as Director of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.[11]

Hidden Hand story[edit]

When Barstow’s report was printed, stating that some retired generals, working as on-air television analysts, had been secretly selected by the Pentagon to make its case for the Iraq War, most of those same American television networks failed to either mention Barstow's name in their news reports, or talk about his investigations that suggest the officers whose views they aired were biased.[12] Nevertheless, after Barstow won the Pulitzer, he opined that his story had prompted some improvements in the networks' practices.[13]


  • Barstow, David; Craig, Suzanne; Buettner, Russ (October 2, 2018). "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-02.


  1. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes | Biography". Pulitzer.org. Pulitzer Prize. 1963-01-21. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
  2. ^ "The 2004 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Public Service". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-19. With short biographies and reprints of 11 works (NY Times articles January 8 to December 23, 2003).
  3. ^ a b The 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Investigative Reporting. The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2009-04-20. With short biography and reprints of three works (NY Times articles April 20 and November 30, 2008).
  4. ^ Barstow, David (April 20, 2008). "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand". The New York Times. pp. A1.
  5. ^ "EXCLUSIVE ... Pentagon Pundits: New York Times Reporter David Barstow Wins Pulitzer Prize for Exposing Military's Pro-War Propaganda Media Campaign". Democracynow.org. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
  6. ^ "The 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Investigative Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "UCLA Anderson School of Management Announces 2013 Gerald Loeb Award Winners". PR Newswire. June 25, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (15 April 2019). "Pulitzer Prizes Focus on Coverage of Trump Finances and Parkland Shooting". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  9. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (2019-04-15). "Sun Sentinel Wins Public Service Pulitzer for Parkland Shooting Coverage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  10. ^ Cartwright, Lachlan (26 June 2019). "New York Times' Trump Tax Team Imploded When Star Reporter David Barstow Went Rogue". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  11. ^ Tani, Maxwell; Cartwright, Lachlan (16 July 2019). "NYT Reporter Leaves Following Implosion of Trump Taxes Team". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  12. ^ Greenwald, Glenn. "The Pulitzer-winning investigation that dare not be uttered on TV". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  13. ^ Strupp, Joe (April 23, 2009). "NYT's Barstow: Pulitzer-Winning 'Generals' Story Has Made a Difference". Editor and Publisher. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2009.

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