The 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism

The Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism is awarded to writers to recognize them for their example of excellence in their field with a prize award of $10,000. The Pulitzer Prize is the US award for achievement in literature, journalism and musical composition and has been established since 1917. The 2014 winners will be announced on April 14th, 2014.

Pulitzer Prize logo

The 2013 winners of the award were David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab for their article exposing Walmart for its use of bribery in Mexico in an effort to control the marketplace. Their disclosure led to broad changes in practices within the company.

David Barstow, a senior writer for the New York Times, was awarded this prize previously in 2009 for his series entitled “Message Machine” which uncovered the secret campaign at the Pentagon intended to manipulate media reporting of the Iraqi and Afghan wars by fostering the use of retired officers as analysts for radio and television news. He was awarded another Pulitzer Prize in 2004, this one for Public Service by informing the public about deaths and injuries related to workplace safety violations in America.

Growing up in Massachusetts, Barstow graduated from Northwestern University before beginning his career in Wisconsin and upstate New York. He was the finalist for 3 other Pulitzer Prizes while working as a reporter at The St. Petersburg Times in Florida. Barstow has been at The Times for fifteen years, starting on the Metro Desk, with a focus on investigative reporting since 2002.

Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab began her career as a radio broadcaster in Guadalajara and writing local and regional stories for the newspaper the Siglo 21. Her investigative background began at that same paper where she had the opportunity to track stories focused on topics like government corruption, drug trafficking and political assassinations. In 1992, her coverage of the devastating explosions on 8km of Guadalajara’s streets earned her the National Journalism Award. Following a move to Mexico City in 1999, Von Bertrab worked as a freelance journalist with articles published in Gatopardo, National Geographic, and Reforma and Milenio newspapers. She was an editor at the business magazine, Expansion, and also assisted Gabriel Garcia Marquez with his publication, Cambio, investigating social and health issues. She has expertise in the investigation of the tobacco industry around strategic lobbying as part of the ICU team dedicated to that project in 2010 -11. Von Bertrab works to pass along her knowledge to other reporters.

The selection jury included the chair, former Pulitzer Prize winner, Louise Kiernan, associate professor at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; Kathleen Best, the managing editor of content creation for The Seattle Times; Sheila Coronel, the director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbian University; Ziva Branstetter, enterprise editor for Tulsa World; Charles Ornstein, senior reporter for ProPublica in New York City; Paul D’Ambrosio, director of news and investigation at Asbury Park Press in Neptune, New Jersey; and Walter Robinson, distinguished professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Other finalists that were nominated for the prize for Investigative Journalism include Alexandra Zavas of The Tampa Bay Times in Florida who exposed religions based care facilities for children where many different forms of physical and emotional abuse were perpetrated, leading to state invention; Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne from The Chicago Tribune for the work on exposing the continued use of toxic materials in the construction of household furniture and baby mattresses which led to an effort for both state and federal officials to work for reform.

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