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Barlett & Steele gold award: How Barstow got Wal-Mart de Mexico scoop

WalMart Protests Mexico

Protests against Wal-Mart trying to build in Mexico.

Barlett & Steele gold award winner and The New York Times’ lead reporter sat down with ProPublica editor Steve Engelberg  to talk about how he got the scoop on Wal-Mart de Mexico: http://propub.ca/Ub6bS5 

In the most recent ProPublica #MuckReads podcast, David Barstow and Engelberg talk about how the investigation got started. Barstow explains how he found that Mexico’s FOIA/public records law was very helpful and why looking into the case of foreign bribery was important to Americans.

Barstow received the top gold award of $5,000 in the sixth annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism.

Barstow obtained hundreds of confidential documents and interviewed important players in the company’s internal inquiry. He discovered Wal-Mart had received powerful evidence that its Mexican executives used systematic bribery payments totaling more than $24 million to obtain zoning rulings and construction permits.

If you’re at all interested in investigative reporting, take a listen. This #MuckRead podcast is 25 minutes of golden tips:

Listen to the podcast: How the Wal-Mart Bribery in Mexico Investigation Came Together

The New York Times stories:  WAL-MART ABROAD – How a retail giant fueled growth with bribes

“The thing that was actually the most surprising to me and the most important to our longterm reporting strategy was that Mexico has passed a really good FOIA law, a great public records law. They looked at ours, they looked at the problems with ours, and tried to create one that took away some of the biggest problems, being endless delays and no response.  And we want to town with Mexico’s public records law… filing FOIAs in places that had never seen a FOIA before.”

In the most recent story (The Bribery Aisle, Dec. 17, 2012) in this ongoing investigation, Barstow says, they filed 137 public records requests.



In Investigation, Manufacturing | Large companies, Retail | Lifestyle, Reynolds Week.

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