Class of 1971
Inducted 1998 Inaugural Group
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor Jonathan Neumann was a self-described “brash and foolish” teenager when he joined the College newspaper Observation Post in 1967. First as a reporter and later as OP’s top editor, he chronicled some of the school’s most turbulent years, from anti-war protests to the advent of open admissions. At night, he toiled as a copy boy at The New York Post.
For Neumann, who was born on April 14, 1950, it was the start of a career as an investigative reporter and editor whose articles helped free two men who had been wrongly imprisoned and whose work was honored with dozens of awards, among them a fistful of Pulitzers.
After graduation, Neumann went to work as a reporter for The Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Mass., where he won 10 journalism awards, most notably for a series of articles that led to the freeing of a man named Russell Daniels, who had been wrongly convicted of murder.
In 1976, Neumann joined The Philadelphia Inquirer. That same year, his coverage helped overturn the conviction of Robert Wilkinson, who was coerced by police into falsely confessing to the deaths of five people in a firebombing incident in Philadelphia. In 1977, Neumann co-authored a series of articles about police brutality in Philadelphia. That series won a 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and four other major journalism awards. The Wilkinson case and the series were dramatized in a 2000 television movie called “The Thin Blue Lie” with actor Rob Morrow playing Neumann. A second Pulitzer came Neumann’s way when he was part of a team of Inquirer reporters covering the partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979.
During that same year, Neumann moved to The Washington Post as an investigative reporter. There, he wrote extensively about federal government contracts, and helped The Post win a Pulitzer in 1983 for articles exposing prison abuses. Not long after that, Neumann returned to The Inquirer, this time as enterprise editor and chief of investigations. Under his supervision, investigative reports by the newspaper earned two more Pulitzer Prizes, in 1987 for a series on politics in the judiciary and two years later for articles documenting wasteful spending at the Pentagon.
In 1987, Neumann moved back to Washington temporarily to lead a team of reporters in a probe of the Iran-Contra scandal that won a George Polk award for national reporting.
Neumann left The Inquirer in 2000 and joined Bloomberg News in 2001. He is currently a senior editor of Bloomberg Markets magazine and editor for investigative reporting at Bloomberg News. He has worked closely with Bloomberg reporters on such award-winning pieces as “Big Pharma’s Shameful Secrets,” a look at how the experimental drug trial industry put lives at risk, which won a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award in 2007, and “Profiting from Fallen Soldiers,” a 2011 exposé of how life insurance companies were profiting by sitting on death benefits owed to survivors of service members who died in the line of duty. It won a Silver Gavel from the American Bar Association as well as a John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism.