Daniel Golden

Senior Editor

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Journalist and author Daniel Golden is a Boston-based senior editor at ProPublica. Golden has been instrumental in three Pulitzer Prizes, two as an editor and one as a reporter. He co-edited a ProPublica series on Latin American asylum-seekers caught between the US government and the MS-13 gang, which won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. Before joining ProPublica in October 2016, he worked as managing editor for education and enterprise at Bloomberg News. There he edited a series about tax inversions — companies moving headquarters overseas to avoid taxes — that earned Bloomberg’s only Pulitzer Prize in 2015.

Golden won a Pulitzer as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in 2004 for a series of articles on preferences for children and donors in college admissions. He expanded that series into a critically acclaimed national bestseller, “The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates.” The book has drawn renewed attention since the 2016 presidential election because of its disclosure that Harvard admitted Jared Kushner after his father pledged $2.5 million to the university. An updated edition will be published in October 2019 with new reporting on the Operation Varsity Blues scandal.

Golden’s book, “Spy Schools: How The CIA, FBI, and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America’s Universities,” was published by Henry Holt in October 2017. Spy novelist John Le Carre praised it as “timely and shocking,” and former US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called it a “must-read.”

Golden spent 17 years as a staff reporter at the Boston Globe, including a stint on its Spotlight team, and served as senior editor for investigations at Conde Nast Portfolio. Among other honors, he has won three George Polk awards, three National Headliner awards, the Sigma Delta Chi award, the Gerald Loeb Award, the Overseas Press Club award, the New York Press Club Gold Keyboard award, and two Education Writers Association Grand Prizes. He was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for public service for a series exposing recruiting abuses by for-profit colleges. A Harvard College graduate, he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 1998-99.

An Unseen Victim of the College Admissions Scandal: The High School Tennis Champion Aced Out by a Billionaire Family

One teammate made tennis his whole life. The other had a grandfather whose company invented Hot Pockets. Guess which one went to Georgetown as a Division I recruit.

The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them

Most tycoons give big to one or two universities as their children approach college age. David Shaw gave to seven.

How the Rich Really Play, “Who Wants To Be An Ivy Leaguer?”

A ProPublica editor who investigated how the rich buy their children’s way into elite colleges reflects on the latest scandal—and remembers when affluent readers mistook his expose for a “how-to” guide.

Why Russian Spies Really Like American Universities

If the charges against Maria Butina are accurate, she’s only the latest in a long line of Russian agents to go undercover on U.S. campuses.

How the Fight Against Affirmative Action at Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites

If preferences for black and Hispanic applicants are abolished, expect a backlash against admissions boosts for children of alumni and donors.

How the CIA Staged Sham Academic Conferences to Thwart Iran’s Nuclear Program

A decade ago, the CIA secretly funded conferences to lure Iranian scientists to defect. If President Trump scuttles the Iranian nuclear agreement, the agency may seek more defectors — and orchestrate more such “conferences.”

Facebook Moves to Prevent Advertisers From Targeting Haters

Following our report that advertisers could use Facebook to reach self-identified anti-Semites, the company said it would remove all audience categories based on users’ reports of their interests, education and employment.

Who’s Taking College Spots From Top Asian Americans? Privileged Whites.

The Trump administration is preparing to investigate whether Asian Americans are treated unfairly as a result of admissions policies intended to boost the chances of other racial minorities.

Jared Kushner Isn’t Alone: Universities Still Give Rich and Connected Applicants a Leg Up

Ten years after his book showed how the wealthy buy college slots for their kids at the expense of more deserving students, Daniel Golden writes that the problem has only gotten worse.

The Story Behind Jared Kushner’s Curious Acceptance Into Harvard

ProPublica editor Daniel Golden wrote a book a decade ago about how the rich buy their children access to elite colleges. One student he covered is now poised to become one of the most powerful figures in the country.

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