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David Barstow Edit Profile

investigative reporter , journalist

David Barstow, journalist, investigative reporter. Co-recipient Pulitzer prize for Public Service, 2004, Goldsmith award for Investigative Reporting, Joan Shorenstein Center Press, Politics & Public Policy, 2004; recipient Pulitzer prize for Explanatory Journalism, 1998, George Polk award for National Reporting, 2007, Pulitzer prize for Investigative Reporting, 2009.


Barstow, David was born on January 21, 1963.


Degree in Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1986.


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). One of three stories submitted for the Investigative Reporting Pulitzer was "Message Machine: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand" (April 20, 2008). 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.

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exonerating the program, the Pentagon inspector general's office later said it was flawed, and the statement was withdrawn. Most American television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox: incidentally, these are the ones that were criticized in the report) have 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.


  • In 2004, The New York Times won the annual 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."\r\n 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."\r\n Nevertheless, after Barstow won the Pulitzer, he opined that his story had prompted some improvements in the networks' practices.


Married; 2 children.