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Tampa Bay Times takes home two Pulitzer Prizes

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Tampa Bay Times took home not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday.

Their investigation into Pinellas County public schools, “Failure Factories,” took the Pulitzer for Local Reporting.

The investigation, researched and reported by Cara Fitzpatrick, Lisa Garter and Michael La Forgia showed how the school district abandoned integration efforts in 2007 and then failed to follow through with promised resources for elementary schools that became predominantly poor and black. The five schools in South St. Petersburg are falling at rates far worse than almost any other schools in Florida.

It’s the latest – and the most prestigious – award for the reporters. The series previously won the Philip Meyer award (administered through Investigative Reporters and Editors at the Missouri School of Journalism), the National Press Foundation’s Innovation in Journalism Award, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism (administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University) and the IRE Award (Investigative Reporters and Editors).

But that wasn’t all for the Times.

A joint investigation between the Times Leonora LePeter Anton and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Michael Braga and Anthony Cormier that looked into Florida’s mental health hospitals called, “Insane. Invisible. In Danger,” took the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

Those reporters won the first Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health Reporting from the  the National Press Foundation last week. It was also a recent finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ journalism competition.

“Today, we celebrate journalism that makes a difference in our community,” said Neil Brown, editor of the Times, said in a statement. “In recent years, the excitement of technological change combined with the pain of the Recession has prompted newsrooms like ours to re-imagine how we approach news and how we deliver it. But what we have never had to re-imagine is our mission: to do work that helps people and holds the powerful to account. That was true 50 years ago, that’s absolutely true today. You can see it in the power of each of these stories.” “I couldn’t be more proud of the Times journalists who produced this important work. And we’re not done. We won’t let up.”

Other Pulitzer winners include Lin-Manuel Miranda winning the Drama Pulitzer for “Hamilton,” and the New Yorker’s William Finnegan for his memoir, “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.”

The Times last won a Pulitzer in 2014, when reporters Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia were the winners for Local Reporting for their investigation into the Hillsborough County Homeless Recovery Program. It is their 11th and 12 Pulitzers.

Here’s the complete list of winners, announced on Monday afternoon.

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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