I’m not suggesting that this closing was some kind of retribution. It is merely to say the signers understood that, as someone told me: “The kind of work the bureau was famous for would not flourish under the new regime.” Simple as that. This was the argument I made at the time.

Third, for an idea of what this all means it’s only necessary to read at random work that came out of there. The common thread is that it was all reported to death. Take something from Dan Golden’s Pulitzer-winning series on affirmative action for children of (the real) elites in college admissions. This one, for instance, talked about how middle-class students with better academic records at Groton were denied entry to elite universities, while children of the rich with lesser records got in. Check out how this piece, using internal Groton documents, goes after, get this, Robert Bass’s daughter. I emphasize things that show how well-reported this sensitive story is:

One striking anomaly: Of nine Groton students listed as applicants to Stanford that year, Margaret Bass was the only one admitted. Ms. Bass’s grades placed her 40th in her Groton class, according to the Groton document. She had an SAT score of 1220, lower than those of seven of the eight other Stanford applicants. By contrast, almost 90% of Stanford freshmen rank in the top 10% of their high school class, while 75% have SAT scores of 1360 or better.
But Ms. Bass had an edge: Her father, Texas tycoon Robert Bass, was chairman of Stanford’s board and had given $25 million to the university in 1992. Mr. Bass has a degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He and his wife, Anne, are both Groton trustees.
Stanford officials and Martin London, a lawyer for the Bass family, said Ms. Bass’s record on the Groton document was inaccurate, but declined to be specific. Another person familiar with Ms. Bass’s record at Groton said her data, as listed on the document, were correct. Mr. London added that Ms. Bass compiled a “stellar record” at Stanford and graduated with honors last year. Ms. Bass didn’t respond to several requests for comment. Her roommate at Groton, Claire Abernathy, said Ms. Bass is “a great writer,” and “I’m sure her admissions essay was fantastic.”

I’m sure. Many examples are available on the Pulitzer site. Just search under the author’s name.

The trouble with great reporting is that when it doesn’t happen you never know it.

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.