Washington Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA-spying revelations

The Washington Post and the Guardian won Pulitzer Prizes for public service Monday for articles revealing the scope of surveillance by the National Security Agency. Above, writer Barton Gellman speaking in the Post's newsroom about the series after the prizes were announced.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
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The Washington Post and the Guardian captured coveted Pulitzer Prizes for public service on Monday for their revelations about the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs.

The newspapers’ stories were based on thousands of secret documents obtained from Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who is living in Russia after fleeing the United States.

The revelations set off a national debate about the scope of the U.S. government’s collection of private information for security reasons. The articles also set off a debate on Snowden’s fate, whether he should be praised for leaking the documents or condemned as a traitor.


The Pulitzers are generally considered the most prestigious awards for journalism and the arts, including music and literature.

The Post also won a Pulitzer this year for explanatory reporting. The New York Times won two Pulitzers, both for photography. No award was handed out for feature writing.

The Boston Globe won for breaking news for its coverage of the bombing at the Boston marathon on April 15, 2013.

The Los Angeles Times had four entries that were Pulitzer finalists in their categories, including one in international reporting by Raja Abdulrahim and Patrick McDonnell for their “vivid coverage of the Syrian civil war, showing at grave personal risk how both sides of the conflict contribute to the bloodshed, fear and corruption that define daily life.”

L.A. Times staff writer Christopher Goffard was a finalist for writing a reconstruction of an ex-police officer Christopher Dorner’s nine-day killing spree in Southern California.

The other L.A. Times’ finalists this year were television critic Mary McNamara, who was also a finalist last year, and cartoonist David Horsey, who won Pulitzers in 1999 and 2003.


In a statement sent to the Times staff, Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin noted that only the Washington Post and the Boston Globe had as many finalists this year.

“Everyone likes to win prizes. But the recognition from our peers on the Pulitzer juries gives us reason to be proud, and to continue reaching high,” they said.

Among the other journalism winners was Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity, who captured the investigative reporting award for his work on how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners suffering from black lung disease.

The prize for national reporting went to David Philipps of the Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., for an investigation that found that the Army has discharged escalating numbers of traumatized combat veterans who commit crimes at home.

The Pulitzer for international reporting went to Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters for their reports on the violent persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar.

The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Ore., was awarded the Pulitzer for editorial writing for a series of pieces about reforms in Oregon’s public-employee retirement system.


The Tampa Bay Times’ Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia won for local reporting for exposing poor conditions of housing being provided to the city’s homeless.

The winners in the public service category receive a gold medal. A $10,000 award is given with each of the other prizes.