Center for Public Integrity wins Pulitzer Prize for ‘Panama Papers’

Investigation by international consortium into offshore companies honored

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The Center for Public Integrity has won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize in the category of explanatory reporting for the “Panama Papers,” a project of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Sharing in the award were McClatchy News and the Miami Herald.

The sprawling, global investigation was spawned by a massive leak of 11.5 million financial and corporate documents that cracked open the world of offshore money laundering and tax dodging by world leaders.

The year-long project included work by Süddeutsche Zeitung, McClatchy, the Miami Herald, Fusion, Swedish Television and more than 100 other news outlets from around the globe and was credited for creating a new model of collaborative journalism.

The Panama Papers project was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the category of international reporting.

"This is brilliant — best news ever," said Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. "It really is a testament to teamwork."

Said Center for Public Integrity Chief Executive Officer John Dunbar: “We’re intensely proud of the work of the consortium. Few projects in the history of the Center have had as much of an impact as the Panama Papers."

This is the second Pulitzer Prize for the Center for Public Integrity.

In 2014, a landmark Center investigation detailing controversial denials of black lung benefits to coal miners — “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine” — won in the category of investigative reporting. The year-long investigation illuminated how doctors and lawyers working at the behest of the coal industry helped defeat benefit claims of coal miners who were sick and dying of black lung disease.

The Pulitzer is the latest in a slew of awards honoring the Panama Papers project.

Others include the George Polk Award for financial journalism, two prizes in the 2016 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards the O’Brien Fellowship Award for Impact in Public Service Journalism from the American Society of News Editors and a recognition by the White House Correspondents' Association with an honorable mention.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was a project of the Center for Public Integrity when the Panama Papers series was published last year. It has since spun off into a separate entity.

The Gold Medal for Public Service went to the New York Daily News and ProPublica. Other winners included the East Bay Times, the Charleston Gazette Mail, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1989, the Center for Public Integrity is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit news organizations in the country. Its newsroom is comprised of reporters, editors and computer-aided reporting experts who dig deep and deliver national and international investigative journalism of enduring significance.

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