Associated Press (AP) has won the Pulitzer Prize for public Ssrvice journalism for its international investigation into the fishing industry in Southeast Asia which was credited with helping to free 2,000 slaves.
In the 100th anniversary of US journalism’s top honours, AP scooped its 52nd Pulitzer.
AP’s Seafood from Slaves investigation also led to the arrests of 12 people and the introduction of legislation in the US Congress to ensure there is better transparency from food suppliers.
AP reporters “found captive slaves, countering industry claims that the problems had been solved,” AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll said in her nomination letter to the Pulitzer judges.
She added: “The AP journalists accomplished two goals that had eluded others. They found captive slaves, countering industry claims that the problems had been solved.
“And they followed specific loads of slave-caught seafood to supply chains of particular brands and stores, so companies no longer could deny culpability.”
Addressing staff after scooping the award, Carroll said: “This is AP’s 52nd Pulitzer Prize but our very first for Public Service.
"Unique among the Pulitzers, the Public Service Gold Media is awarded not to individuals, but to a news organisation, recognising that it takes a sustained commitment across that organisation to support and deliver work like the fish slaves project.”
The AP reporting team of Esther Htusan, Margie Mason, Martha Mendoza and Robin McDowell had previously won the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting and the Barlett and Steele Award for Investigative Business Journalism.
AP won out against InsideClimate News for its investigation into oil company Exxon and its attempts to muddy the debate over climate change; and the Tampa Bay Times for "exposing a local school board's culpability in turning some county schools into failure factories".