Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan of The Associated Press today were named winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their months-long series outlining the New York Police Department's surveillance of minority and particularly Muslim neighborhoods since the 9/11 terror attacks.
In addition, the AP had finalists in two other Pulitzer categories, Feature Photography and National Reporting.
The Pulitzer Prizes are the most prestigious honors in journalism.
The NYPD stories revealed that the department had become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, sending undercover officers into minority neighborhoods, student groups and houses of worship, though there was no indication they harbored criminals or terrorists.
In documenting the extent of the NYPD's undercover operations, conducted with the advice and guidance of the CIA, the AP team’s stories ignited ongoing debate in the halls of government, in the ethnic communities, on editorial pages and across the Web.
"We’re especially gratified by this award, which recognizes the deep digging of our reporters on a story of vital interest,” said AP President and CEO Tom Curley. “The AP series has set off a healthy, important and timely debate on what tactics government can or should use to prevent another terrorist attack on the United States.”
Curley added: "No matter where you come down on the merits of this issue, one thing is clear: the public is better off knowing what methods its government is up to in the name of keeping people safe. A vigorous and strong free press is essential to helping inform the debate, especially when civil liberties are at stake."
The Pulitzer Prize board honored the AP for NYPD stories written in 2011. The investigative series, begun last August, has continued in 2012.
AP has now won a total of 50 Pulitzers, including 30 photo Pulitzers. Past AP winners are listed here.
In the category of Feature Photography, an AP team -- Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder, video journalist Rafael Wober and photographer Ng Han Guan -- were finalists for images of North Korea taken during the months before AP opened the first western news bureau in the capital of Pyongyang, in January 2012.
See their photos at http://bit.ly/JpUafF.
In National Reporting, AP national writer Jeff Donn was a finalist for a series that raised serious questions about the safety of the U.S.' aging nuclear reactors.
Pipes are rusting -- and leaking, Donn reported. Vessel walls are growing brittle. And all the while, the number of people living around the 65 plant sites has been growing -- in many cases, far more than ever envisioned. Donn showed that regulators had allowed plants to stay open by relaxing standards, and he revealed an uncomfortable coziness between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulators and the nuclear power industry.
You can read Donn’s work here.
All of the 2012 Pulitzer honorees can be found at http://www.pulitzer.org.