The Michael Kelly Award

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Loretta Tofani

CITATIONLoretta Tofani

Loretta Tofani had been a foreign correspondent in China in the 1990s, but it was not until she left journalism and started an import business that she got a first-hand look at the working conditions in Chinese factories making products headed for the United States. She saw workers using carcinogens without masks or ventilation equipment and workers losing limbs in old machinery lacking safety guards. Tofani closed her business and began reporting the story. She sent inquiries to several newspapers, but they all turned her down. Undaunted, she kept reporting, traveling to China five times to interview workers, obtain medical records, and dodge state security officials trying to harass her. In the end, she found a home for her work in The Salt Lake Tribune. Her four-part series is a tribute to her persistence, resourcefulness, and moral courage.

Before beginning her current freelance career, Loretta Tofani worked for 9 years as a staff writer for The Washington Post and 14 years as a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Tofani earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her investigative series documenting a pattern of widespread gang rape inside a Maryland jail. She qualified as a finalist for another Pulitzer in 1989 and three years later, was named The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Asia correspondent, based in Beijing, from 1992 to 1996. Tofani was a Fulbright scholar in Japan after earning her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in New York City and her master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2001, Tofani moved with her family to Utah where she currently resides.

American Imports, Chinese Deaths

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