BuzzFeed News won the Pulitzer Prize on Friday for some innovative articles that used satellite imagery, 3D architectural models and pre-interviews to showcase China’s vast infrastructure arresting hundreds of thousands of Muslims in its Xinjiang region. The Pulitzer Prize is a top honor for journalism, and it has won the digital outlet for the first time since its inception in 2012.
And FinCEN Files series BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Journalists, the largest research project to uncover global corruption in the banking industry, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A The former U.S. Treasury official was sentenced to prison terms it was just last week that thousands of secret government documents were leaked.
The Xinjiang series won the International Reports category and was recognized as a finalist in the Explanatory Reports category, and FinCEN Files was recognized as a finalist in the International Reports category. BuzzFeed News has been a Pulitzer finalist twice before.
In 2017, shortly after China began arresting thousands of Muslims in Xinjiang, Megha Rajagopalan was a journalist for BuzzFeed News the first to visit an internment camp – China denied that such places existed at the time.
“In the face of this, he tried to silence the government by revoking his visa expelled from the country“BuzzFeed News wrote in its award entry.” Access to the entire region would continue to be cut off by most westerners and journalists. The release of basic data on detainees was slowed. “
Working from London, and refusing to remain silent, Rajagopalan collaborated with two assistants, Alison Killing, a graduate architect specializing in the analysis of architecture and satellite imagery of buildings, and Christo Busch, a programmer who builds tools adapted for data journalists.
“The horrific stories in Xinjiang reveal one of the worst human rights violations of our time,” said Mark Schoofs, CEO of BuzzFeed News. “I am incredibly proud of Megha – who was expelled from China but still found ways to cover up this critical story – as well as her bold and tiring research with Alison and Christo, a prime example of innovative forensic analysis and new creations.”
A few minutes after winning, Rajagopalan told BuzzFeed News that he did not watch the ceremony live because he did not expect to win. Schoof only knew when he called to congratulate him on the victory.
“I’m absolutely amazed, I didn’t expect that,” Rajagopalan said over the phone from London.
He said he was very grateful to the teams that worked with him, including his collaborators, Killing and Bush, editor Alex Campbell, the public relations team at BuzzFeed News, and the organizations that funded their work, including the Pulitzer Center.
Rajagoplan also acknowledged the courage of the sources who spoke to them despite the risk and threat of revenge on them and their relatives.
“I’m very grateful that they stood up and were willing to talk to us,” he said. “It takes a lot of courage to do that.”
The three set out to study thousands of satellite images of the Xinjiang region, a larger area than Alaska, to try to answer a simple question: Where were Chinese officials arresting a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities?
For months, the trio compared uncensored mapping software to censored Chinese images. They started with a huge data set of 50,000 locations. Busch built a custom tool for sorting these images. Then, “the team had to go through thousands of images one by one, checking against many other evidence that many sites were available,” BuzzFeed News wrote in its award.
Eventually more than 260 structures that appeared to be fortified detention camps were identified. Some sites were able to accommodate more than 10,000 people and there were many prisoners were forced to work in factories.
Pioneering technological reporting also went hand in hand with the extensive ancient style “Leather shoe” journalism.
Excluded from China, Rajagopalan traveled to his neighbor Kazakhstan, a country known for its authoritarian impulses, where many Chinese Muslims sought refuge. There, Rajagopalan found more than two dozen inmates in Xinjiang camps, gaining confidence and convincing share nightmare accounts with the world.
An article caught readers inside one of the camps, was described in vivid detail with unprecedented and vivid details from surviving accounts and then, thanks to Killing’s architectural ability, became a 3D model.
“Throughout the report, Rajagopalan had to endure harassment from the Chinese government as he was forced to pack up his apartment in Beijing in the short term,” the award read. In one case, “the Chinese government posted its personal information, including the government’s identification number, on Twitter.”
In the end, the four-story series painted a wonderful and detailed portrait of China’s horrific arrests and horrific treatment of Muslim citizens by major Western nations. he has named genocide and crime against humanity.
BuzzFeed News ’second honor went to FinCEN Files, which was named a finalist in the International Reporting category.
In this series, the largest news project in history, more than 100 news organizations from 88 countries collaborated on a series of stories for 16 months.
It all started in 2017 when BuzzFeed News journalist Jason Leopold was given a huge deposit of US government secret documents from a source. The documents contained more than 2,100 reports of suspicious activity or SAR, which is a top-secret document issued by banks to alert the government to potential activity crime. The public has never seen much of it.
Through documents that collaborated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed News, and collaborative newsrooms, the narrative sections were 3 million words long – 14 times the length of the novel Moby-Dick. Then they checked everything, three times. The process took more than a year to complete.
In addition, journalists conducted hundreds of interviews around the world, obtained bundles of internal bank data and thousands of pages of public records, and filed dozens of requests for the Freedom of Information Act and several lawsuits from public records.
The investigation revealed, among other things, how five of the world’s banking industry giants – JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and New York Mellon Bank – were profiting from drug smugglers and terrorists in obscure transactions.
The global response to stories that revealed a flood of dirty money was profound. FinCEN Files was given the final boost of great success Extensive anti-money laundering legislation in the US. Legislators from the EU to Thailand to Liberia have also made inquiries on their own.
“FinCEN Files,” Schoofs said, “took financial reporting to new levels. Jason received many unprecedented government secret documents from a brave source, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, who was recently sentenced to prison for giving them away. from which a tremendous reporting effort around the world revealed how the major banks were making the dirty money they were making through accounts, while the US government saw the measures but rarely took them. ”
Last week, former Treasury Department official Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards was sentenced to six months in prison for Leopold for leaking highly confidential bank documents. Edwards – a former senior advisor to the Finance Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN network – was not responsible for leaking documents that were the basis of the FinCEN Files department, but accepted it after the ruling.
BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs, who he won a Pulitzer he himself wrote for international reporting in 2000 New York Times opinion article on Thursday, he apologized to President Joe Biden for acknowledging Edwards for his horrific corruption.
Eleven BuzzFeed News reporters and alumni honored by the Pulitzer Board in the FinCEN section Leopold, Anthony Cormier, John Templon, Tom Warren, Jeremy Singer-Vine, Scott Pham, Richard Holmes, Azeen Ghorayshi, Michael Sallah, Tanya Kozyreva and Emma Loop.
BuzzFeed News has previously been listed as a Pulitzer finalist. In 2018, the store was a finalist in international reporting in a series of stories that linked more than a dozen deaths in the US and the UK. A program assassinated by the Kremlin. A year earlier, BuzzFeed News was a finalist in the same category for its research on how it was revealed major corporations exploit a powerful conflict resolution process countries to bow to their will.