Bloomberg wins January Sidney award
by Chris Roush
The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced Wednesday that Leslie Patton of Bloomberg News has won the January Sidney Award for a hard-hitting side-by-side profile of a McDonald’s fry cook and the company’s CEO.
This “Tale of Two McDonald’s” shows how explosive growth of fast food has generated fat profits for executives and shareholders at the expense of front-line workers, who have been left behind.
After 20 years on the job as a fry cook, Tyree Johnson earns just $8.25 an hour, minimum wage in Illinois. Johnson is lucky to scrape together 40 hours per week because neither of the two McDonald’s he works for will give him full-time hours. Johnson would have to work over a million hours to earn as much as the company’s last CEO, who took home $8.75 million last year.
“The story was an important one to tell both about my beat and more broadly about growing income inequality,” said Patton, when asked if she was worried about writing such a critical story about an industry leader. “And the story was part of a Bloomberg series that examined how the top earners in this country have gained more than in past economic recoveries as the rich-poor gap has widened.”
Patton has worked for Bloomberg News for two-and-a-half years, mostly reporting on restaurants and other consumer companies. After receiving a BBA from the University of Michigan, she worked as a business analyst at Target Corp. for two years before going back to school. She earned an MSJ from Northwestern University in 2010.
The Sidney Award is given once a month to an outstanding piece of journalism about social or economic injustice, by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, which also awards the annual Hillman Prizes every spring.