Post columnist wins lifetime achievement award

Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein has won a Gerald Loeb award for lifetime achievement in business and financial journalism.

A former business editor and reporter, Pearlstein has been writing a column twice a week since 2003, touching on topics ranging from Greek debt to local land-use policy to technology. In 2007, he wrote a series of columns about the looming catastrophe in the financial system, earning a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Pearlstein is about to take up a new career as a professor at George Mason University, but he will continue to write a weekly column for The Post’s Sunday Business section

Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of The Post, said Pearlstein “has mastered the journalistic alchemy of making subjects that are complex and opaque into columns that are understandable and compelling.” He praised Pearlstein for being “smart and inquisitive, skeptical and incisive.”

A graduate of Trinity College
in Hartford, Conn., Pearlstein worked at daily newspapers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts before starting a monthly of his own, the Boston Observer, in 1982. After it closed, he spent two years at Inc. magazine. Pearlstein joined The Post in 1988 as deputy business editor managing day-to-day news and helping to overhaul the Sunday section. One of his tasks was to edit Hobart Rowen, who won the first Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992.

Pearlstein became a reporter again and covered the defense industry during its post-Cold War transformation. Later he carved out a new beat translating macroeconomic trends into tales of concrete, daily life. He wrote often about income inequality and the concentration of industry, culminating in a series about the “winner-take-all economy.” He has also contributed to The Post’s Web site and anchored the On Leadership feature.

The Loeb awards are administered by the Anderson School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles. The G. and R. Loeb Foundation also announced winners in 13 other categories.

Robert O’Harrow, a Post staff writer, was a finalist in the large-newspaper category for the series “Alaska Native Corporations.”

Created by Congress 40 years ago to help native Alaskan tribes rise above poverty, Alaska native corporations were given privileges in the 1980s and 1990s. O’Harrow showed how they received $29 billion in federal government contracts over the past decade. As a result of his stories, the federal government ended some contracts, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced legislation to eliminate preferences for the Alaska native corporations.

Steven Mufson covers energy and other financial news.
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