The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Investigative Reporting

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Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong
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Michael J. Berens, 51, is an investigative reporter for The Seattle Times, where he has worked since 2004. He previously worked for seven years on the investigative team at the Chicago Tribune and for 13 years at The Columbus Dispatch. He began his newspaper career as a copy boy while attending Ohio State University. He has won dozens of regional and national awards, and twice has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (investigative and beat reporting). Recent awards include the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism; Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE); Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting; Edgar A. Poe Memorial Award, White House Correspondents Association; Society of American Business Editors and Writers; National Press Club; and the Gerald Loeb Award. Berens’ investigative projects at The Seattle Times include “Seniors for Sale,” a six-part series about the financial exploitation and physical abuse of vulnerable adults; “Culture of Resistance,” an examination of the unchecked growth of the antibiotic-resistant germ MRSA; “Miracle Machines,” which tracked deadly and unsafe medical devices; and “License to Harm,” which exposed how state regulators ignored or excused sexual misconduct among health-care practitioners. Other projects examined how young, mentally ill wards of the state were illegally warehoused in geriatric nursing homes; unsanitary hospital conditions responsible for breeding deadly germs; and a discarded military vaccine that resulted in the death of soldiers. Berens is a former adjunct professor for Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism graduate program, where he taught analytical journalism techniques. He has been a trainer and panelist for such journalism groups as IRE, the Associated Press Media Editors (NewsTrain), and University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism (California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships).


Ken Armstrong, 49, is an investigative reporter at The Seattle Times. He previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, where he co-wrote six series on criminal justice issues, including one that helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and then empty Death Row. Armstrong has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton. In 2009 Columbia awarded him the John Chancellor Award for lifetime achievement. He is a four-time winner of the IRE Award and a four-time finalist for the Pulitzer, in the categories of public service, investigative, national and explanatory reporting. In 2010 he shared in the Pulitzer for breaking news reporting, which was awarded to the Seattle Times staff for its coverage of four police officers gunned down in a coffee shop. Armstrong’s other awards include the George Polk, Worth Bingham, Michael Kelly, Scripps Howard Public Service, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Purdue University, and the ASNE Distinguished Writing Award. He co-authored two books in 2010: “Scoreboard, Baby” won the Edgar Award for non-fiction, and “The Other Side of Mercy” won IRE’s Tom Renner Award.