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SPOTLIGHT Pulitzer for Geeta Anand eeta Anand was "watching the wires" in her editor Elyse Tanouye's World Financial Center office in New York when she first heard about the Pulitzer. In an interview punctuated by strict Wall Street Journal (WSJ) deadlines and failing cell phone reception, Anand recalls: "We were excited and ran down the stairs to the floor below where the paper's editor, Paul Steiger, was standing on a desk with a glass of champagne preparing to give a congratulatory speech." A health and science reporter at the WSJ covering biotech companies, Anand shares the 2003 staff Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism with other members of the WSJ team for a series of stories about scandals in corporate America. "I felt very lucky because you can go through life writing good stories and never win big awards. But if luck and timing are on your side, you get recognized every now and then," she says modestly. Just the second person of Indian origin to win a journalism Pulitzer-Gobind Behari Lal was the first in 1937-Anand, a native of Mumbai and now a New Yorker, worked on two stories that caught the judges' eye. In an investigative report on the once celebrated immunologist and ImClone CEO, Sam Waksal, Anand wrote: "In the world of biotechnology, where sterling scientific credentials are critical to winning investor confidence, Samuel Waksal's bona fides seemed impeccable: a string of research positions at such prestigious institutions as Stanford and Tufts universities and the National Cancer Institute .... Missing from Dr. Waksal's official resume is that he was pushed out of each of those research institutions for what former supervisors and others say was misleading and, in one case, falsified scientific work."

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Waksal resigned from ImClone following charges of insider trading. "My Sam Waksal piece helped people understand the background of the CEO of ImClone and how someone with his questionable research past achieved recognition and success," Anand says with some satisfaction. In "Trial Heat: Biotech Analysts Strive to Peek Inside Clinical Tests of Drugs," Anand and her colleague Randall Smith probed several questionable tactics used by analysts and investors to get an edge in the volatile world of biotechnology stocks. Anand doesn't deny that her affiliation to the WSJ contributed toward winning the Pulitzer. "I'm sure it helped," she says, adding, "the paper has the resources to let reporters like me spend weeks and months on important stories. That has to have helped. It takes time to do the research to write ground breaking stories." Her memories of India are centered around Cathedral & John Connon School in Bombay, where she studied through to the 12th grade. At Cathedral, she edited the school paper and was also head girl. She went on to study at Dartmouth College at Hanover, New Hampshire, from where she graduated with a major in history and a women's studies certificate. While in college, she wrote for the campus daily, The Dartmouth, but was more of a campus activist in the South Africa divestment movement that was sweeping across U.S. campuses in the mid-1980s. Anand took off from school in 10th grade to spend the year in swimming camps around India. She has vivid memories of living in a "dilapidated old palace called Motibag" in Patiala for about six months with other athletes-"about 15 female swimmers shared a room, sleeping on cots a few feet from one other with their belongings stored under their beds." "In the summer, it was unbearably hot;

Geeta Anand with husband Gregory Kroitzsh and daughters.

in the winter, we froze," she recalls. Even in Punjab's chilly December days, the young girls practiced in an outdoor pool. "That was tough but fun. I made many good friends," says Anand. The hard work paid off. In 1982, at the age of 15, Geeta Anand represented India in the Asian Games in New Delhi and the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. She became a national champion and a record holder in women's lOa-meter and 200-meter breaststroke. After the Asian Games she decided to retire from swimming. "I never thought of swimming as a career," Anand explains, adding, "it was more of a hobby that grew because I found I was good at it. But I never wanted to devote my life to swimming. I do expect to spend much of my work life as a journalist." Anand worked at the Boston Globe where she spent four years covering politics. In 1998, she moved to the Wall Street Journal's New England edition. In her biggest story there, she exposed the cost overruns at the Boston's "Big Dig" public construction project that led to federal investigations and the resignation soon after of the chief of the Big Dig. In January 200 I, she moved to the WSJ's New York office to cover biotech and drug industry stories. As for the Pulitzer, Anand doesn't expect it will change her life in any way. "I just want to continue doing what I'm doing now-writing in-depth features and investigative stories," she says. 0

Profile for SPAN magazine

SPAN: July/August 2003  

An American Gharana?; Digital Railroad to Fly; Think Tanks & U.S. Foreign Policy; Can Economic Diplomacy in South Asia Work?; Muscle & Magic...

SPAN: July/August 2003  

An American Gharana?; Digital Railroad to Fly; Think Tanks & U.S. Foreign Policy; Can Economic Diplomacy in South Asia Work?; Muscle & Magic...

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