An investigative journalist with more than three decades experience, Jeffrey Gottlieb ’75 won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of stories in the Los Angeles Times that uncovered rampant corruption in the City of Bell. Written with fellow Times reporter Ruben Vives, Gottlieb’s exposé led to the felony convictions of former city officials, statewide reforms and federal investigations.
Gottlieb’s sleuthing and storytelling skills have shaped his distinguished career in journalism. Twenty years before winning the Pulitzer, his work triggered federal reforms and garnered national recognition when he was a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News, where his investigation into Stanford University’s use of federal research funds led to Congressional hearings, changes in federal regulations and the resignation of Stanford’s president. Gottlieb’s coverage of Stanford earned a George Polk Award, one of journalism’s most prestigious accolades, which Gottlieb also won for the Bell series.
Gottlieb said Pitzer cultivated his sense of social responsibility and encouraged him to question conventional thinking, traits that ultimately led him to investigative journalism.
“Winning this award from Pitzer, where I spent some of my formative years, is an incredible honor,” Gottlieb said. “Much of my view of the world was shaped at Pitzer, and the award is recognition that I’ve lived up to the goals of the College.”
A sociology major, Gottlieb’s most influential teachers were his adviser and Professor Emeritus of Sociology Rudi Volti and former professor of English Ellin Ringler, who taught a course on major American writers that “opened my eyes to literature,” he said. Gottlieb also played point guard on the College’s fledgling basketball team, shortly after Pitzer and Pomona College joined forces to create the current-day Sagehens. He later earned his master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1997, Gottlieb wrote for a number of papers in California, including the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. At the Los Angeles Times, he worked both as an editor and a reporter, covering beats ranging from medicine to higher education.
Gottlieb’s freelance articles have been published in a wide array of magazines and journals, including The Nation, Mother Jones and Sports Business Journal. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including the PBS NewsHour, CBS Evening News and the Madeleine Brand Show.