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National Press Club award presented to Trib reporter

| Thursday, July 19, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Tribune-Review investigative reporter Lou Kilzer.
Tribune-Review investigative reporter Lou Kilzer.

Lou Kilzer, an investigative reporter with the Tribune-Review, received the national 2012 Excellence in Economic Reporting award on Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

Kilzer, 61, of Franklin Park was honored for “The China Syndrome,” a series of stories last year on a wide range of business activities by Chinese national and private companies that have dual economic and military purposes. The two-time Pulitzer winner told how China has gained control over the majority of the world's rare earth materials used for such things as electronic devices, hybrid cars and military weapons. He detailed how China secured a trade agreement with North Korea to gain access to that country's raw minerals and use of a strategic open-water port for the Chinese navy in winter months.

Kilzer revealed how China tried to gain access to technology from Apple, Motorola and Westinghouse when those companies sought to set up manufacturing operations there. When solar panel maker Solyndra, the recipient of guaranteed federal loans, blamed its financial collapse on unfair Chinese competition, Kilzer used shipping records to show the company imported a substantial amount of Chinese-made parts for its panels.

In addition, Kilzer reported how Goldman Sachs and other major American financial firms helped Chinese companies with initial public offerings, many registered through shell companies in the Cayman Islands and now worth only penny stock value.

Joe Starrs, director of the Institute on Political Journalism, which presents the award, said Kilzer's series beat out entries from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, USA Today, and other major news media. The award includes a $2,500 cash prize and a bronze eagle trophy.

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