AP wins Pulitzer for stories on NYPD spying
BY DEEPTI HAJELA Associated Press Writer
Monday, April 16, 2012
NEW YORK — The Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting Monday for documenting the New York Police Department's spying on Muslims, while The Philadelphia Inquirer was honored in the public service category for its examination of violence in the city's schools.
The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., won for local reporting for breaking the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that eventually brought down legendary football coach Joe Paterno.
A second Pulitzer for investigative reporting went to The Seattle Times for a series about accidental methadone overdoses among patients with chronic pain.
The New York Times won two Pulitzers, for explanatory and international reporting.
The Huffington Post received its first Pulitzer, in national reporting, for its look at the challenges facing American veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A year after the Pulitzer judges passed on awarding any prize for breaking news, the staff of The Tuscaloosa News of Alabama won the award for coverage of a deadly tornado. By blending traditional reporting with the use of social media, the newspaper provided real-time updates and helped locate missing people, while still producing in-depth print coverage despite a power outage that forced the paper to publish at a plant 50 miles away.
The judges declined to award a prize for editorial writing.
The AP's series of stories showed how New York police, with the help of a CIA official, created a unique and aggressive surveillance program to monitor Muslim neighborhoods, businesses and houses of worship. The series can be read at http://apne.ws/IrNyPk.
The articles showed that police systemically listened in on sermons, hung out at cafes and other public places, infiltrated colleges and photographed law-abiding residents as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks. Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism.
The series, which began in August, was by Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley. The stories prompted protests, a demand from 34 members of Congress for a federal investigation, and an internal inquiry by the CIA's inspector general.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have defended the program as a thoroughly legal tool for keeping the city safe.
The Philadelphia Inquirer showed how school violence went underreported and shed light on the school system's lackluster response to the problem. In response to the Inquirer's reporting, the school system established a new way of reporting serious incidents.
The New York Times' David Kocieniewski won the explanatory reporting award for a series that described how wealthy people and corporations used loopholes to avoid taxes. The Times' Jeffrey Gettleman, meanwhile, was honored for his reporting on famine and conflict in East Africa. He frequently braved personal danger to shed light on "a neglected but increasingly strategic part of the world," the judges wrote.
At the Huffington Post, veteran military correspondent David Wood wrote a series on the experiences of catastrophically wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. While medical advances are saving some soldiers' lives, the number of those suffering severe wounds is rising.
Wood looked at the soldiers' physical and emotional struggles, as well as how their families, communities, comrades and doctors responded.
The Stranger, a Seattle weekly, was given the feature writing award for a story about a woman who survived an attack that killed her partner.
Mary Schmich, a longtime Chicago Tribune columnist, was recognized with the commentary award for pieces that "reflect the character and capture the culture of her famed city," the judges said. Film critic Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe won the criticism award, for work the judges called "distinguished by pinpoint prose and an easy traverse between the art house and the big-screen box office."
The Pulitzers are given out annually by Columbia University on the recommendation of a board of journalists and others. Each award carries a $10,000 prize except for the public service award, which is a gold medal.