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CrazyFruits » WORLD NEWS AND SPORTS FROM SKY » Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

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The Guardian revealed the NSA's bulk collection of phone records 10 months ago based on Edward Snowden's leaks. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
The Guardian and the Washington Post have been awarded the highest accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer prize for public service for their groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.
The award, announced in New York on Monday, comes 10 months after the Guardian published the first report based on the leaks from Snowden, revealing the agency’s bulk collection of US citizens’ phone records.
In the series of articles that ensued, teams of journalists at the Guardian and the Washington Post published the most substantial disclosures of US government secrets since the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam war in 1971.
The Pulitzer committee praised the Guardian for its "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy".
Snowden, in a statement, said: "Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognises was work of vital public importance."
He said that his actions in leaking the documents that formed the basis of the reporting "would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers".
The Pulitzers have been bestowed since 1917, at the bequest of the legendary newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer who established the honour in his will as a means of encouraging publicly-spirited journalism. Awards were given in 22 categories this year: the Boston Globe received the Pulitzer for breaking for "exhaustive and empathetic" coverage of the Boston marathon bombing. Journalists in the Globe newsroom observed a period of silence on Monday in memory of the victims, a day before the one-year anniversary of the attack.
At the Guardian, the NSA reporting was led by Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and film-maker Laura Poitras, and at the Washington Post by Barton Gellman, who also co-operated with Poitras. All four journalists were honoured with a George Polk journalism award last week for their work on the NSA story.

Investigative reporter Laura Poitras accepts the George Polk Award alongside Barton Gellman, far left, and Ewen MacAskill. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
The NSA revelations have reverberated around the world and sparked a debate in the US over the balance between national security and personal privacy. On the back of the disclosures, President Obama ordered a White House review into data surveillance, a number of congressional reform bills have been introduced, and protections have begun to be put in place to safeguard privacy for foreign leaders and to increase scrutiny over the NSA’s mass data collection.
"We are truly honoured that our journalism has been recognised with the Pulitzer prize," said Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian. "This was a complex story, written, edited and produced by a team of wonderful journalists. We are particularly grateful for our colleagues across the world who supported the Guardian in circumstances which threatened to stifle our reporting. And we share this honour, not only with our colleagues at the Washington Post, but also with Edward Snowden, who risked so much in the cause of the public service which has today been acknowledged by the award of this prestigious prize."
Janine Gibson, the editor-in-chief of Guardian US, said: "We're extremely proud and gratified to have been honoured by the Pulitzer board. It's been an intense, exhaustive and sometimes chilling year working on this story, and we're grateful for the acknowledgement by our peers that the revelations made by Edward Snowden and the work by the journalists involved represent a high achievement in public service."
Among the disclosures were:

• the NSA’s mass dragnet of phone records of millions of Americans.
• the program codenamed Prismused by the NSA and its UK counterpart GCHQ to gain back-door entry into the data of nine giant internet companies including Google and Facebook.
• the cracking of internet encryption by the NSA and GCHQ that undermined personal security for web users.
• NSA surveillance of phone calls made by 35 world leaders
The coverage of the Snowden leaks presented a particularly thorny issue for the 19-strong panel of journalists, academics and writers who recommend the winners. The stream of disclosures invoked strong and polarised reactions in the US and around the world.
In January, Obama said that the debate on the acceptable limits of government surveillance prompted by the articles “will make us stronger”. But other prominent US politicians such as Mike Rogers, Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, have suggested journalism based on Snowden’s leaks was tantamount to dealing in stolen property.
Snowden has been charged with three offences in the US. He is the eighth person to be charged with breaking the 1917 Espionage Act by the Obama administration – more than all the prosecutions brought under previous presidents combined.
The Guardian's US operation, headquartered in New York, was incorporated as an American company in 2011 and recognised last year by the Pulitzer board as a US news outlet eligible to be considered for its prizes.
Last month Rusbridger was given a special award  the European press awards; earlier this month the Guardian was named newspaper of the year in the UK; and there it has been awarded other prizes for online and investigative journalism in Germany, Spain and the US.
The Snowden stories were edited from New York by Gibson, and Guardian US deputy editor Stuart Millar. The UK end of the reporting was led by deputy editor Paul Johnson and investigations editor Nick Hopkins.
Others on the team of journalists included Spencer Ackerman, James Ball, David Blishen, Gabriel Dance, Julian Borger, Nick Davies, David Leigh and Dominic Rushe. In Australia the editor was Katharine Viner and the reporter Lenore Taylor.

Among the other Pulitzers, Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times won for local reporting for their investigation into the housing blight of the city’s homeless population; and the New York Times’s Tyler Hicks and Josh Haner took the two photography prizes.
The Pulitzer for fiction writing went to Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch, while Annie Baker won the prize for drama for her play set in a cinema, The Flick. Become Ocean, a piece commissioned by the Seattle Symphony by John Luther Adams, won the Pulitzer for music.

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