The Associated Press was honored Monday for its international coverage, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography as seen in gripping images of the Syrian civil war and being named a finalist in international reporting for its firsthand views of embattled Syria across formats.
The breaking news achievement – the 51st Pulitzer won by AP – was awarded on the strength of photos taken in 2012 by Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen. They show scenes of blood and anguish, an environment in which neighborhoods have crumbled from combat, frightened families flee and youngsters often are among the slain.
Capturing these images required repeated trips into the war zone, without government permission or protection, amid the dangers of shelling, bombardment and errant bullets, as well as the risk of abduction or capture.
The images take us deep into the suffering of civilians in a war that has left more than 60,000 dead, displaced more than a million people internally and sent hundreds of thousands more fleeing over Syria’s borders, mainly into Turkey.
"Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen are some of the bravest and most talented photographers in the world and I am immensely proud of them for this tremendous and well-deserved recognition of their work covering the tragic and dangerous story of Syria,” said AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon. “In addition, I want to underscore the tireless and careful coordination and assigning work done by Manoocher Deghati, our regional photo editor for the Middle East, whose broad experience covering conflict is an invaluable asset."
AP was a finalist in the separate category of international reporting for its multiformat efforts in Syria.
AP reporters Ben Hubbard and Hamza Hendawi tapped their deep knowledge of the region and mastery of Arabic to draw out detailed accounts of the conflict’s complexity in articles about the rebels and those simply caught in the middle. Searing images from Abd, Brabo and Hamra conveyed the inconsolable grief attending the war, giving immediacy to the conflict in a way that words alone never could. Videographers Bela Szandelszky and Ahmed Bahaddou risked all to portray the unpredictable nature of the violence and tell the stories of a population in distress.
“AP has made a deep commitment to covering Syria and the only way to do it involved great peril for the journalists on the ground there,” said Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. “Without their tenacity, the world would not know as much about the heartache, blood and pain of the people in Syria.”
Carroll added: “We are all enormously proud of these courageous journalists. And I am delighted that their work has been recognized -- a winner in one category and a finalist in another -- by the Pulitzer juries and board.”
See more on AP's reporting from Syria in the AP Annual Report 2012, released today in a digital edition.
All of the 2013 award winners are listed on the Pulitzer website.
In recent months AP photographers have also been honored by Pictures of the Year International, World Press Photo, China International Press Photo Competition (CHIPP) and the White House News Photographers Association.
Time after time throughout 2012, five Associated Press photographers endured these perils to show us that when war hits, everything we take for granted is shattered. The homes we live in, the streets we walk down, our routines, our families and friends and our sense of normalcy are all transformed by violence.
These images take us deep into the suffering of civilians in a war that has left more than 60,000 dead, displaced more than a million people internally and sent hundreds of thousands more fleeing over Syria’s borders, mainly into Turkey.