Jake Bernstein (journalist)

Jake Bernstein is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author. He previously worked with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. During a 25-year career, he has covered the civil war in Central America, industrial pollution in Texas, political corruption in Miami, system-crashing greed on Wall Street and the secret world of offshore money.[1] He has written travel pieces, reviewed movies and books and taken his journalism to the radio and TV.

His 2017 book, Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite (Henry Holt), takes an in-depth look at the evolution of the offshore world as seen through the Panama Papers, and the journalists and investigators who tried to break through its secrecy. The book has been optioned by Steven Soderbergh, Michael Sugar, Lawrence Grey and Scott Z. Burns to be made into a feature film titled, The Laundromat.[2]


Bernstein, who speaks Spanish, began his journalism career in Latin America as a freelancer. After a brief stint at Pasadena [Texas] Citizen, Bernstein joined Miami New Times as a reporter-staff writer (1997-2002), where he covered political corruption, media and the environment with stories on the fight over Elián González, Everglades restoration and the 2000 presidential recount.

The Texas Observer

In mid-2002, Bernstein joined The Texas Observer as a reporter-editor, eventually rising to the position of executive editor in 2004 and served through 2008. During his tenure at the Observer, Bernstein covered stories on government surveillance, Tom DeLay’s money-laundering legislative takeover and Texas’ demographic shift. Under his leadership, Utne Reader named The Texas Observer, Best Political Magazine of 2005.


Bernstein joined ProPublica in 2008, shortly after its founding, where he worked as a business reporter.[3] In 2011, he and a colleague won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for coverage of Wall Street in the lead up to the financial crisis.[3] In 2014, Bernstein broke the story of the secret tapes of Carmen Segarra, a whistleblower bank examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The story prompted a U.S. Senate hearing.[4][5]

Panama Papers

Bernstein worked as senior reporter as part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the Panama Papers. In addition to sharing a byline on the main story,[6] Bernstein also authored the consortium's piece on the Russian findings in All Putin's Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Russian Leader and the story on The Art of Secrecy in the offshore world. The project won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting and was a Pulitzer finalist for International Reporting.


  • VICE: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency, by Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein. Random House, 2006. ISBN 1400065763, 978-1400065769
  • Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite, by Jake Bernstein. Macmillan Audio, 2017. ISBN 1427290792, 978-1427290793

Bernstein signed with United Talent Agency (UTA) to sell the book for film and television.[7]


Year Award Organization Work Result
2017 The Pulitzer Prize Explanatory Reporting "Panama Papers" Won
2017 The Pulitzer Prize International Reporting "Panama Papers" Finalist
2017 Polk Award Financial Reporting "Panama Papers" Won
2011 The Pulitzer Prize National Reporting "The Wall Street Money Machine" Won
2011 Goldsmith Award[8] Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting "The Wall Street Money Machine" Finalist
2011 The IRE Awards Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. Finalist
2012 Best Business Writing Columbia University Awarded
2013 Best Business Writing Columbia University Awarded


  1. "Bio - Jake Bernstein". jakebernstein.net. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  2. http://deadline.com/2016/07/steven-soderbergh-panama-papers-movie-jake-bernstein-secrecy-world-scott-burns-1201783424/
  3. "Jake Bernstein - ProPublica". ProPublica. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  4. "The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra". This American Life. 2014-09-26. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  5. "Inside Job". This American Life. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  6. "Denials, outrage after 'Panama Papers' published - CNN Video". CNN. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  7. "Hot Panama Papers Project Shopped for Film and TV Amid Book Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  8. "Goldsmith Awards Program - Shorenstein Center - Shorenstein Center". web.archive.org. 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
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