For 18 months the Associated Press tailed ships and refrigerated trucks to expose the dodgy practices of the fishing industry in South-East Asia. The reporting led to more than 2000 slaves being freed — and it’s now won the news agency the top prize in American reporting. The Pulitzers were announced overnight, awarding AP the public service award for its forensic tale “Seafood From Slaves“.

The Pulitzer gongs, handed out by Columbia University annually, went to plenty of usual suspects, including The New York Times (international reporting for an investigation into women in Afghanistan and a photo essay on the asylum seeker crisis in Europe) and The Washington Post (a rich data project on police shootings). A year after magazines were made eligible, The New Yorker won prizes for Emily Nussbaum’s television criticism and a must-read feature on the potential for a devastating earthquake on the American west coast. Newer media got a look in, with an award for a joint ProPublica/The Marshall Project feature on a rape case in Washington State.

The Pulitzers also award fiction (The Sympathizer), non-fiction (Black Flags: The Rise Of ISIS) and biography (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life), plus an annual award for drama which this year went to musical phenomenon Hamilton, the Broadway show seen twice by Barack Obama but sold out until well into 2017.

Peter Fray

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