Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzer Prizes for Coverage of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks

The Gold Pulitzer medal.

Update: Here is a statement from Edward Snowden.

Big news on the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners, with potentially big consequences for future whistleblowers and the journalists who report on what they leak. From the NYT: "The Washington Post and the Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize for public service, among the most prestigious awards in journalism, for their stories based on National Security Agency documents leaked by the former government contractor Edward J. Snowden."

It would be incredible if this honor begins to change how the US government treats Mr. Snowden, who is in exile in Russia.

It would be amazing if the award sparks a shift in the government's posture toward the reporters who covered Snowden's revelations about the NSA's surveillance programs. They include Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, who returned to the United States last Friday (without incident) for the first time since the leaks broke; the list also includes the Washington Post's Barton Gellman, whom our Cory Doctorow interviewed on stage about the coverage at SXSW 2014.

The Pulitzer committee said it gave the award for the news organizations' “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

A complete list of winners is here. The Boston Globe won in the breaking news category for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Notable Replies

  1. Yeah, that's nice for the Journalists, but what about the whistle blower? It might help journalists and their publishers stand up more, but they are still going to need those whistleblowers. And whistleblowers can see that their lives will be ruined.

    I'm looking at a case where both the government and a powerful industry want to shut down whistle blowers. They don't want to flee the country, thrown into jail or sued to death by industry.
    I not only want whistleblowers to be revealing stuff, I'd like them to profit from it! Crazy I know, but we talk about government waste and corruption. What is your reward for exposing it or stopping it? Satisfactions is nice, but you also get lawsuits, and possible arrest.
    I'm hoping more people can find out and use qui tam laws so they can not only expose the fraud problems but sue the companies profiting from it.

  2. I won't even say it is nice for the journalists.. Seriously, this story was sitting out there for 10 years. They needed someone to pre-digest this and package it and hand it to them on a silver platter.

    Watergate came when journalists investigated stories. When was the last time that happened? These guys winning a prize for someone else doing their job just highlights how far the industry has fallen.

  3. IMB says:

    Journalists should do a lot more muckraking, but if you look back at Watergate, they wouldn't have had the story without Deepthroat. So there is both luck and tenacity, on the journalist's part, and that person needs to be perceived as trustworthy by the source.

    edit: spelling

  4. In 1972, the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize in the same category

    For the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

    Though in 1918, the paper also won

    For its public service in publishing in full so many official reports, documents and speeches by European statesmen relating to the progress and conduct of the war.

    Apparently, journalism as transcription was once quite laudable.

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