Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Michael Moss shares his insights gained while uncovering some of the food industry's best kept secrets.
Moss just won the Pulitzer Prize for his investigation of lapses in food safety surrounding contaminated hamburger meat. Moss traced the sordid history of one hamburger that left a 22-year-old woman paralyzed from E. Coli. The day after Moss' article ran in The New York Times, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak launched a review of all department meat safety practices. Moss was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for his work on the lack of protective armor for soldiers and Marines in Iraq.
Moss discusses his work to uncover hamburger and other food-safety issues, as well as other nutrition-related issues, from the White House's war on obesity to an exploration of salt, sugar and fat in processed foods. Moss also comments on the financial future of investigative reporting in a world of cash-strapped newspapers.
Michael Moss has been a reporter with the investigations group since joining The New York Times in 2000. In 2010, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for his investigation of the dangers of contaminated meat.
In 2009, Mr. Moss took that most pedestrian of American delicacies, the hamburger, and subjected it to probing reporting to figure out why, 16 years after an E. coli outbreak was linked to Jack in the Box restaurants, ground beef tainted with the pathogen remains such a common threat.
Using confidential corporate and government records, Mr. Moss was able to tell the story of a single hamburger, the American Chef's Selection Angus Beef patty that infected 22-year-old Stephanie Smith with E. coli in the fall of 2007 and left her paralyzed.
Mr. Moss's hamburger article was the centerpiece of a body of work focused on surprising and troubling holes in the system meant to keep food safe.
The day after Mr. Moss's article ran, Tom Vilsak, the Agriculture Secretary, said "the story we learned about over the weekend is unacceptable and tragic," and he launched a review of all department meat safety procedures.
Before coming to The Times, Mr. Moss was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo., and the High Country News in Lander, Wyo.
He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for his reporting on the lack of protective armor for soldiers in Iraq, and in 1999 for a team effort on Wall Street's emerging influence in the nursing home industry. Mr. Moss received an Overseas Press Club citation in 2007 for stories on the faulty justice system for American-held detainees in Iraq.
Mr. Moss is the author of Palace Coup: The Inside Story of Harry and Leona Helmsley, a Doubleday bestseller. He has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has had fellowships with the German Marshall Fund and the Gannett Center for Media Studies. In 1983 he covered an expedition up the West Ridge of Mount Everest in Nepal.
Born in Eureka, Calif., Mr. Moss attended San Francisco State University.
Sarah Varney covers health for KQED's statewide news programs "The California Report" and "Health Dialogues." She began reporting for KQED in 2002 and has covered a range of subjects and stories - from the ethics, politics and science of stem cell research to the religious and legal challenges over gay marriage to the inside workings of baseball park food vendors. As KQED's health reporter, Varney looks at how decisions about immigration, health care coverage and access, the environment, transportation and energy policy, land use, education funding, business and agricultural practices, and other issues affect the health of Californians, especially the state's most vulnerable populations.
Varney reports regularly for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," "Day to Day," and "All Things Considered." Her work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists, the Northern California Radio and Television News Director Association, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. In 2003, Varney earned a commission from the Third Coast Audio Festival to produce an experimental soundscape presented in Chicago.
Before joining KQED, Varney was a senior consultant at a San Francisco-based strategy consulting firm, and prior to that led the business development team at a startup market research firm. Varney grew up in rural New Hampshire and earned her B.A. in political science from Brown University. An avid traveler, Varney has trekked through East Africa, the Jammu and Kashmir region of India, and the then-Soviet Union.