Addressing staffers at a celebration at AP’s New York headquarters, Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said: “This is AP’s 52nd Pulitzer but our very first for Public Service. Unique among the Pulitzers, the Public Service Gold Medal is awarded not to individuals, but to a news organization, recognizing that it takes a sustained commitment across that organization to support and deliver work like the fish slaves project.
“That kind of commitment is the embodiment of the AP mission, which is shared by each and every one of the people who work here.”
Before the celebration got underway, Carroll also noted that the reporting “took real physical courage.”
“Robin McDowell and Esther Htusan were alone on an island in the most remote seas of Indonesia finding caged and beaten slaves,” Carroll said.
“After their work was discovered, they were chased by angry thugs in a speedboat. Undeterred, Robin and Margie scrunched in the back of a small pickup truck for days following the slave-caught seafood as it was loaded onto ships that Martha Mendoza then tracked as they sailed toward the United States.
“The remarkable work of these four tenacious women is what brought this foul practice to light, led to real reform and freedom for more than 2,000 slaves.
“Every single person in the AP has contributed in some way to supporting this work and that is why we are so very proud today.”
The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service caps a long, gratifying list of awards lauding the work of the four reporters, including:
- George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting
- Gold Barlett and Steele Award for Investigative Business Journalism
- Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting
- Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting
- Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics
- SABEW Best in Business Award, International – Investigative; News Agencies — Investigative
- Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism
- Scripps Howard Award
- Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Journalism
- IRE Medal of Excellence
- National Headliner Award, Best of show: Newspapers
- AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Award
You will find the investigation in its entirety here.
Here is a complete list of Pulitzer winners.