TAMPA BAY, FL - The 2016 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting was awarded to Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick andLisa Gartner for their work in exposing how Pinellas County school leaders withheld promised funding and support from five predominantly black schools creating Failure Factories, the title of the series that was published in 2015.
The 2016 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting went to the series Insane, Invisible, In Danger, a reporting partnership between the Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Using thousands of pages of records compiled from across the state, reporters pieced together the first comprehensive database of violence and injury at Florida’s state mental hospitals, then showed how violence and death got worse after state officials cut funding to the hospitals by $100 million. The reporters were Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Times and Michael Braga of the Herald-Tribune.
“Today, we celebrate journalism that makes a difference in our community,” said Neil Brown, editor of the Times. “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.”
The wins are the 11th and 12th Pulitzers the newspaper has been awarded. They are also the fifth and sixth Pulitzer Prize since 2009 and the third and fourth under the new banner, Tampa Bay Times. In 2012, the Times changed the name of the paper from the St. Petersburg Times to better reflect the regional community it already had been serving.
Investigative reporter Michael LaForgia hugs his wife Cara Fitzpatrick on Monday in the Tampa Bay Times newsroom when it was announced that the couple had won the Pulitzer for local reporting along with Lisa Gartner, who stands beside them. The three wrote the Failure Factories articles which exposed the school system’s neglect of five largely black Pinellas County schools. Also in photo are: (l-r) Leonora LaPeter Anton, who won for investigative reporting; Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash; Chris Davis, deputy managing editor for data and investigations; and Anthony Cormier, who won with Anton for their series that showed how violence and death got worse after the state cut funding to mental hospitals.
About the Tampa Bay Times
The Tampa Bay Times is widely considered one of the Top Ten newspapers in America and has won 12 Pulitzer Prizes. It is Florida’s largest newspaper, with an average circulation of 367,936 Sunday and 297,626 daily (AAM Annual Audit 2014). The Times is produced by the Times Publishing Company,which also publishes TampaBay.com - Tampa Bay’s largest local news Web site with about 2.7 million unique visitors each month (comScore six-month average for 7/15-9/15). Additionally, the company publishes the free daily tbt*, an edition of the Tampa Bay Times, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning website, PolitiFact.com; and produces special events, specialty publications, and targeted advertising programs.
Times’ History of Pulitzer Prizes
2016: Local reporting – Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner for their work in exposing how Pinellas County school leaders withheld promised funding and support from five predominantly black schools creating Failure Factories.
2016: Investigative Reporting – Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Times and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for Insane, Invisible, In Danger. The reporters used thousands ofpages of records and pieced together the first comprehensive database of violence and injury at Florida’s state mental hospitals that showed how violence and death got worse after state officials cut funding to the hospitals by $100 million.
2014: Local Reporting – Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia for prompting swift reform of the Hillsborough County’s Homeless Recovery after exposing the unsafe living conditions provided to the homeless.
2013: Editorial Writing – Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth for helping reverse the decision to end fluoridation of water in Pinellas County.
2009: National Reporting – the Times staff for PolitiFact, its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaign that used probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web to examine political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters.
2009: Feature Writing – Lane DeGregory for her story about the discovery of a feral child shut off from the world until she was discovered and adopted by a supportive family.
For more information, visit www.tampabay.com.
CONTACT: Paul Jerome