Pioneering investigative journalist Bob Greene, who twice helped Newsday win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and led reporters to uncover everything from corruption in Arizona to how heroin made its way from Turkey to Long Island, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 78.
In 1975, Greene helped form Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE), and a year later, after the murder of one of its founding reporters in Phoenix, who was investigating organized crime and public corruption, Greene led a team of reporters from across the country dedicated to completing the slain reporter’s work. Dubbed “The Arizona Project,” the resulting 23-part series won numerous accolades.
His teams at Newsday won the 1970 Public Service Pulitzer for exposing scandal in Long Island land deals and four years later for tracking heroin from Turkish poppy fields to Long Island neighborhoods.
“He was clearly a pioneer in modern investigative team reporting in the newspaper business,” former Newsday associate editor Les Payne wrote of Greene in a staff tribute. “He founded it almost singlehandedly.”
Before embarking on his journalism career, Greene worked as a staff investigator for the New York City Anti-Crime Committee. At Newsday, he once took a year off at the behest of Robert Kennedy to work as an investigator for the U.S. Senate Rackets Committee.
Greene is survived by his wife and son.
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