NEW YORK, April 14 (UPI) -- The winners of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize were announced Monday and in a move that surprised and perhaps satisfied people speculating on whether the public service category would go to The Washington Post or the Guardian U.S., the Columbia College board responsible for administering the Pulitzers awarded the gold medal to both publications for their coverage of the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
The Pulitzer is possibly the most prestigious prize in journalism and can bring much needed attention to important work. Recipients are awarded $10 thousand but the public service prize—awarded for “For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources”— is the only category in which the winning publication is also presented a gold medal in recognition of their work and, as such, is often considered the grand prize of the Pulitzers.
The committee awarded the prize to both Newspapers for their “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency,” regarding the Washington Post’s coverage as “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security” and recognizing the Guardian U.S. as “helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”
In a phone interview with the New York Times Monday, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, said “This is the epitome of important reporting and the epitome of what public service in journalism is all about.”
Janine Gibson, editor of the Guardian U.S., told the New York Times they were very proud of winning. “I think those words say something about what Edward Snowden did, and what the reporters and editors did, in the face of a lot of rhetoric and opposition.”
Edward Snowden issued a statement on the Guardian’s website calling the prize was “a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government,” adding that his leaking of the documents “would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers.”
[New York Times]