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NYFWA Announces Inaugural Recipients of New Award Honoring Financial Journalism That Spurs Impact

The New York Financial Writers’ Association has created a new honor to recognize financial reporting that spurs impact, and named the first recipients of the prize, known as the Impact Award for Distinguished Financial Journalism.

Carrick Mollenkamp and Mark Whitehouse are the inaugural winners of the prize for their early and prescient coverage of the systemic vulnerabilities that plagued a key global lending benchmark. Mollenkamp and Whitehouse will receive the award at NYFWA’s annual Elliott Bell Award ceremony on Sept. 11 at Bloomberg.

Mollenkamp’s and Whitehouse’s reporting, published in the Wall Street Journal in 2008, was the first to demonstrate that Libor, the London interbank offered rate, was becoming an unreliable interest rate benchmark. The benchmark, set by borrowing rates submitted by banks, underpins everything from home mortgages to corporate loans.

After an April 16, 2008 story questioning the benchmark’s reliability, “Bankers Cast Doubt on Key Rate Amid Crisis,” Libor rates immediately surged. In a follow-up May 2008 story, “Study Casts Doubt on Key Rate,” Mollenkamp and Whitehouse revealed through original data analysis that some banks were reporting significantly lower borrowing rates for Libor than they should have, fueling concerns about the benchmark’s reliability.

The news stories were instantly noticed by regulators, banking executives and – we now know – traders who were manipulating Libor rates to benefit their positions. Starting in 2012, regulators in the UK, U.S. and EU levied billions of dollars of fines against Barclays, UBS, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, RBS, Lloyds Bank, Rabobank and other banks for their roles in rigging Libor rates. Authorities also brought criminal charges against individual traders and brokers for their roles in manipulating Libor rates.

The impact of Mollenkamp’s and Whitehouse’s reporting continues to be felt today, as regulators and finance industry executives debate how to transition away from Libor to another benchmark that is less vulnerable to manipulation. In April 2018, the New York Fed launched a new interest rate benchmark to rival Libor, which is slated to go out of existence in 2021. Now the entire financial world is now planning for Libor’s eventual demise.

To honor stories like these – which cast an early spotlight on important issues and spur impact – NYFWA decided to create the Impact Award.

Each year, the award will honor a distinguished story or body of work by reporters whose work spurred impact during the previous calendar year, irrespective of when the story or stories were published. Mollenkamp’s and Whitehouse’s early coverage of Libor’s irregularities, and the events set in motion by their reporting, exemplifies the spirit of the award.

In future years, NYFWA will seek out similar examples of prescient financial reporting to honor in similar fashion. Additional information about the honor, including how nominate future recipients, will be published in the coming months.

Mollenkamp was a reporter specializing in finance and litigation at Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Thomson Reuters. While at The Wall Street Journal from 1997 to 2011, he was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the collapse of the U.S. financial system, and worked on teams that won the Gerald Loeb and Overseas Press Club awards. In 2014, while at Reuters, he was a Loeb finalist for a series on quantitative easing.

Whitehouse served as deputy bureau chief in the Wall Street Journal's London office in 2008 when the duo wrote their Libor stories. Prior to that, he covered economics for the Journal and was founding managing editor of Vedomosti, a Russian language business daily. Today, he writes editorials on global economics and finance for Bloomberg Opinion in New York. He was part of a team that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting and was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing.

Founded in 1938, NYFWA is the oldest organization of its kind devoted to advancing business and financial journalism. NYFWA gives out scholarships to journalism students interested in business and financial reporting, hosts book talks, networking events, training sessions and other events aimed at helping business and financial reporters improve their craft and advance their careers. For more information, visit or email

Following are links to some of the stories written by Mollenkamp and Whitehouse:


“Bankers Cast Doubt on Key Rate Amid Crisis”


“Study Casts Doubt on Key Rate”