WASHINGTON - The Washington Post won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including the prestigious public-service medal for a series of stories that exposed the National Security Agency's massive global surveillance programs.
A team of 28 Post journalists, led by reporter Barton Gellman, shared the public-service award with Guardian US, a website of the British-based Guardian newspaper, which also reported extensively about the NSA's secret programs. Gellman and Glenn Greenwald, then the Guardian's lead reporter on the NSA pieces, based their articles on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who has fled to exile in Russia.
The Post's Eli Saslow also won a Pulitzer - newspaper journalism's highest award - for a series of stories about the challenges of people living on food stamps. Saslow, 31, was cited in the explanatory-journalism category by the 19-member Pulitzer board in an announcement at Columbia University in New York, which administers the prizes.
The Boston Globe won in the breaking-news category for its extensive coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings last April.
The New York Times swept the two photography categories. The award in breaking photography went to Tyler Hicks for his photos of a terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and the feature photography prize went to Josh Haner for his photos of a Boston Marathon bombing victim who lost most of both legs.
The investigative-reporting prize went to Chris Hamby of the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity in Washington for articles about lawyers and doctors who rigged a system to deny benefits to miners with black lung disease.
The awards to the Post and Guardian for their NSA reporting are likely to generate debate, much like the Pulitzer board's decision to award its public-service medal to the New York Times in 1972 for its disclosures of the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
In both the NSA and Pentagon Papers stories, the reporting was based on leaks of secret documents by government contractors. Both Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg - who leaked the Pentagon Papers to Times reporter Neil Sheehan - were called traitors. And both the leakers and the news organizations that published the stories were accused by critics, including members of Congress, of enabling espionage and harming national security.
But Post executive editor Martin Baron said Monday the reporting exposed a national policy "with profound implications for American citizens' constitutional rights" and the rights of individuals around the world.
Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism
Public service: Guardian US and the Washington Post.
Breaking news reporting: The Boston Globe staff.
Investigative reporting: Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity, Washington.
Explanatory reporting: Eli Saslow of the Washington Post.
Local reporting: Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.
National reporting: David Philipps of the Colorado Springs (Colo.) Gazette.
International reporting: Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters.
Feature writing: No award.
Commentary: Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press.
Criticism: Inga Saffron of The Inquirer.
Editorial writing: The editorial staff of the Oregonian, Portland.
Editorial cartooning: Kevin Siers of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer.
Breaking news photography: Tyler Hicks of the New York Times.
Feature photography: Josh Haner of the New York Times.