Presentation and reception with Bill Dedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist and Author of Empty Mansions.
Bill Dedman is a Pulitzer and Peabody award-winning investigative reporter, and author of the New York Times No. 1 bestselling biography Empty Mansions. He has worked in online news, video, newspapers, television, and magazines.
Bill received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for The Color of Money, his series of articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on racial discrimination by mortgage lenders in middle-income Black neighborhoods. The Color of Money was an influential early example of the power of using computers to gather and analyze public records, combined with shoe-leather reporting to demonstrate how a segregated mortgage market was maintained. The Color of Money led to expanded federal laws on disclosure of loan data, new financing for middle-income homebuyers, and greater awareness of systemic discrimination. The Color of Money is online at powerreporting.com/color.
Thirty years later, Bill was one of four lead reporters on Newsday’s undercover investigation of racial steering by real estate agents, Long Island Divided. The investigation, published in November 2019, revealed that Long Island’s dominant residential real estate brokerages help reinforce racial segregation through illegal steering of customers. Newsday’s team received several national awards for their work, including Peabody, Polk, and Murrow awards. Long Island Divided and its 40-minute documentary film, Testing the Divide, are online at newsday.com/divided.
In eight years with NBC News, reporting online for NBCNews.com, Bill uncovered stories on the Pentagon’s slow efforts to identify servicemen and women killed in past wars, the military police officers who tried to stop coercive interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo, fatal problems with firefighter safety equipment, uninspected highway bridges, the Obama administration’s hidden visitor logs, an effort by the Clinton administration to hide Hillary Clinton’s college thesis, and lessons learned from studies of school shootings.
Bill stumbled onto the mystery of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark and her father, the Gilded Age industrialist who founded Las Vegas. Bill’s series of reports on the Clarks was the most popular story ever on NBCNews.com, with more than 110 million page views. What began as a slideshow and feature story developed into an investigative series, a running daily competitive story, a full-length biography, and now is being developed as a Hollywood film or TV series.
He co-wrote with Huguette Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., the biography Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. The book debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times best seller list and was chosen among the best books of 2013 by critic Janet Maslin, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the readers at Goodreads. See more at emptymansionsbook.com.
Bill got his start in journalism at 16 as a copy boy at The Chattanooga Times. He attended, but did not graduate from, Washington University in St. Louis, where he wrote for the newspaper Student Life and worked part time at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Bill has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, and was the first director of computer-assisted reporting for The Associated Press. Bill has received national journalism awards for online reporting, creative use of interactive tools, deadline reporting, public service, and feature writing. He has taught advanced reporting part time at the University of Maryland, Northwestern University, Boston University, and Stony Brook University, and served for six years on the board of directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors.