John Maines, database editor, and Sally Kestin, investigative reporter,… (Pat Carter, Associated…)
The South Florida Sun Sentinel was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism Monday for its investigation of off-duty police officers who endangered the lives of citizens by speeding.
The newspaper, owned by Tribune Co., started its investigation after an off-duty Miami police officer was pulled over by a Florida state trooper for driving 120 mph in fall 2011. The resulting three-part series, "Above the Law," found that accidents caused by officers driving at high speeds — in many cases when off duty — caused at least 320 crashes since 2004, killing or maiming 21 people.
The chief executive of Tribune, Peter Liguori, said Monday that the series was "a great example of outstanding journalism being brought to life in print and digital media."
TIMES FINALISTS: Mary McNamara | Liz O. Baylen | Richard Marosi
The New York Times won four Pulitzer Prizes, including the award for investigative reporting for stories that detailed how Wal-Mart used bribery to expand in Mexico.
The paper was also honored for international reporting for detailing the business dealings and extreme wealth of relatives of top officials in China's Communist Party; for explanatory reporting that examined the business practices of Apple and other technology companies; and for feature writing, for an account of skiers killed in an avalanche in Washington state.
The prize in breaking news photography went to the Associated Press for its coverage of the civil war in Syria. The AP's director of photography, Santiago Lyon, called the winners — Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra and Muhammed Muheisen — "some of the bravest and most talented photographers in the world."
A New York-based online nonprofit news organization that covers energy, InsideClimate News, won in the national reporting category for stories on flawed regulation of the nation's oil pipelines.
The Pulitzers, journalism's highest honor, are given out each year 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.
The Los Angeles Times, also owned by Tribune Co., had three finalists: television critic Mary McNamara, for what the Pulitzer jury called "her searching television criticism that often becomes a springboard for provocative comments on the culture at large"; photographer Liz O. Baylen "for her intimate essay, shot in shadowy black and white, documenting the shattered lives of people entangled in prescription drug abuse"; and Richard Marosi "for his provocative articles on the fate of thousands of illegal Mexican immigrants deported by the United States in recent years, many who are living desperate lives along the U.S.-Mexico border."
The Pulitzer in breaking news reporting went to the Denver Post for its coverage of the shooting at a movie theater last summer in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead.
Cheers erupted in the Post newsroom when word came of the award. Some people teared up and hugged.
"We are part of this community. The tragedy touches us, but we have a job to do," said Kevin Dale, the Post's news director. He added: "It's great to win the prize, but we'd rather win for a different story."
The Star Tribune of Minneapolis captured two Pulitzers: It was honored in the local reporting category for its coverage of an increase in infant deaths at poorly regulated day-care centers, and in the editorial cartooning category for the work of Steve Sack.
The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens won the prize for commentary with his columns on American foreign policy and domestic politics.
In the criticism category, Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post was honored for his essays on art.
The prize for editorial writing went to Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times of St. Petersburg, Fla., for a campaign that helped continue fluoridation of the drinking water for the county's 700,000 people.
Javier Manzano, a freelance photographer, won the feature photography prize for a picture distributed by Agence France-Presse of two Syrian rebel soldiers.
In the arts, the Pulitzer Prize for drama went to playwright Ayad Akhtar for "Disgraced," a play about a corporate lawyer who has hidden his Pakistani Muslim heritage. The award for music went to composer Caroline Shaw for her a cappella work "Partita for 8 Voices."
The award for fiction went to Adam Johnson for the novel "The Orphan Master's Son," and the poetry prize was awarded to Sharon Olds for the book "Stag's Leap."
In nonfiction, the award for history went to Fredrik Logevall for "Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam." The biography prize went to Tom Reiss for "The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo."
And the general nonfiction prize went to Gilbert King for "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America."