The Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting Monday for documenting the New York Police Department's widespread 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 New York Times won two prizes, for explanatory and international reporting.
A year after the Pulitzer judges found no entry worthy of the prize for breaking news, 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 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 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.
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."
In photography, Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse won the breaking news award for his picture of a girl weeping after a suicide bomber attacked a crowded shrine in Afghanistan. Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post won the feature photography award for his work on an Iraq war veteran's struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Politico's Matt Wuerker won the editorial cartooning prize for work that poked fun at partisan fighting in Washington.
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.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.