The St. Petersburg Times' investigation into abuse at the state's oldest reform school was named a finalist on Monday for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting.
Reporters Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore and photographer Edmund D. Fountain documented the effects of brutal whippings at the school in the 1950s and '60s in a series called For Their Own Good. They showed that not only did the abuse occur, but that it was only one chapter in a 100-year history of state-sponsored violence and neglect. They also showed that in 2009, the school was still a place that broke bones and bloodied noses of boys in its care. The work was cited by the Pulitzer board for its "dogged reporting and searing storytelling."
The Pulitzers, awarded by Columbia University, are journalism's highest accolade. The Times has won eight Pulitzers, including two last year.
To read For Their Own Good, go to magazine. tampabay.com.
Another Florida newspaper was named a finalist in investigative reporting. Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune were finalists for their in-depth reporting and computer analysis that unraveled $10 billion in suspicious Florida real estate transactions, triggering local and state efforts to curb abuses.