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Several IRE Members win Pulitzers for investigative work

Congratulations to several IRE members who won Pulitzer Prizes today.

Daniel Gilbert, who won the Public Service Pulitzer, also won an IRE Award this year. The Pulitzer committee wrote that Gilbert’s work illuminated "the murky mismanagement of natural-gas royalties owed to thousands of land owners in southwest Virginia, spurring remedial action by state lawmakers."

Gilbert, a reporter at the Bristol Herald Courier, is also a recent graduate of one of IRE’s computer-assisted reporting boot camps, having taken the weeklong course in August. His exhaustive reporting for the prize-winning entry included building his own database.

"It’s exciting for us to see someone take the skills they learn and use them in a way that has such dramatic impact in their community," said IRE Executive Director Mark Horvit.

Gilbert wrote about his investigation in Uplink, the online magazine for the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.

Other current IRE members whose work was honored by the Pulitzer committee include:

Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who won the Local Reporting prize for what the judges called "her penetrating reports on the fraud and abuse in a child-care program for low-wage working parents that fleeced taxpayers and imperiled children, resulting in a state and federal crackdown on providers."

Rutledge wrote about her work in the most recent issue of The IRE Journal. IRE members Mark Katches and Greg Borowski oversaw the project.

Sheri Fink, of ProPublica, shared the prize for Investigative Reporting for a story the judges described as chronicling "the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina."

Wendy Ruderman, of the Philadelphia Daily News, shared the prize for Investigative Reporting for her work "that exposed a rogue police narcotics squad, resulting in an FBI probe and the review of hundreds of criminal cases tainted by the scandal.”

Ruderman is speaking at an IRE Watchdog Workshop in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Michael Moss, of The New York Times, for Explanatory Reporting in "relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices.

The Seattle Times, under the leadership of editor David Boardman, for Breaking News for "comprehensive coverage, in print and online, of the shooting deaths of four police officers in a coffee house and the 40-hour manhunt for the suspect."

Congratulations to these journalists and to all of the winners and finalists.

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