Two Seattle news organizations won one of the most coveted prizes in journalism on Monday.
The Seattle Times won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for its series on pain control in Washington state.
The Pulitzer citation says: "Awarded to Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times for their investigation of how a little known governmental body in Washington State moved vulnerable patients from safer pain-control medication to methadone, a cheaper but more dangerous drug, coverage that prompted statewide health warnings."
And Eli J. Sanders, a writer at Seattle's alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger, won the Pulitzer for feature writing "for his haunting story of a woman who survived a brutal attack that took the life of her partner, using the woman’s brave courtroom testimony and the details of the crime to construct a moving narrative."
Berens said he was honored and humbled by the recognition.
He said going through the numbers and data for the methadone story he was struck by the "sheer number of impoverished people who were falling victim."
"Not only is this wrong, but this is incredibly tragic," Berens said.
Sanders won for his coverage of the murder trial of a man accused of raping and stabbing a lesbian couple in their Seattle home in 2009, killing one of them. Isaiah Kalebu was found guilty last year of aggravated murder, attempted murder, rape and burglary.
"I was stunned at first," Sanders said upon learning he had received journalism's highest award. He said it was "cool that a scrappy little alt-weekly in Seattle can produce something that resonates on this level."
"It's a great, great privilege to work at a paper that will allow someone to hang on to a crime story for so long and to disappear as long as I did at a trial," Sanders said. "The fact that I was able to do this piece at all was a credit to how much time the Stranger was willing to give."
The awards that The Seattle Times and The Stranger won each carry a $10,000 prize.
Read the Seattle Times series here: Methadone and the Politics of Pain.
Read Sanders's feature here: The Bravest Woman in Seattle.