BuzzFeed News wins Chinese detention investigation

BuzzFeed News won the Pulitzer Prize on Friday for a series of innovative articles that used satellite images, 3D building models and bold face-to-face interviews to expose China’s massive infrastructure Detaining hundreds of thousands of Muslims In its Xinjiang region. The Pulitzer Prize is the highest honor in the press, this is the first time this digital media has won since its establishment in 2012.

and FinCEN file series The largest investigative reporting project ever from BuzzFeed News and the International Federation of Journalists, which exposed corruption in the global banking industry, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize finalist.A sort of Former U.S. Treasury Department official jailed Thousands of secret government documents that were its origin were leaked just last week.

The Xinjiang series won an award in the international reporting category and was shortlisted for the explanatory reporting finals, and FinCEN Files was shortlisted for the international reporting finals. BuzzFeed News has previously been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice.

The Pulitzer Prize was also awarded to the Minneapolis Star Tribune for reporting on the murder of George Floyd by the police and its aftermath. The teenager Darnella Frazier who recorded Freud’s death viral video, Won a special award From the Pulitzer Prize. The Boston Globe won an award for investigative reporting that exposed the state government’s systemic mistakes in sharing information about dangerous truck drivers. Ed Yong of The Atlantic won the Interpretive Reporting Award for his article on the COVID-19 pandemic. He shared the award with a group of Reuters reporters because they studied how “qualified immunity” protects police officers who use excessive force from prosecution.

Local reports that Pulitzer appeared in the Tampa Bay Times for exposing the sheriff’s secret intelligence operations to describe schoolchildren, while the Marshall Project, the Alabama Media Group, the Indianapolis Star, and the Invisible Institute staff did For one year in a row, he won the National Reporting category to investigate the injuries caused by K-9 troops and police dogs to Americans. The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Reporting for its “brave, foresighted, and comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, which exposed racial and economic inequality, and government failures in the United States and elsewhere. “

In 2017, shortly after China began detaining thousands of Muslims in Xinjiang, BuzzFeed journalist Megha Rajagopalan was arrested. The first person to visit the detention camp ——At the time, China denied the existence of such a place.

“In response, the government tried to shut her up, revoked her visa and Deport her,” BuzzFeed News wrote in its award-winning work. “This will continue to cut off the access to the entire region for most Westerners and journalists. The publication of basic facts about the detainees slowed to a trickle. “

Rajagopalan works in London, refuses to be silent, and works with two contributors. Alison Killing is a registered architect specializing in forensic analysis of buildings and satellite images of buildings, and Christo Buschek, a programmer, builds for data journalists Tailor-made tools.

BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Mark Schoofs said: “The hot stories in Xinjiang urgently need to reveal one of the most serious human rights violations of our time.” “I am extremely proud of Megha-she was expelled from China. , But still found a way to report this pivotal story-and the brave and tragic investigation by Alison and Christo, who are a leading example of innovative forensic analysis and creative reporting.”

A few minutes after her victory, Rajagopalan told BuzzFeed News that she did not even watch the live broadcast of the awards ceremony because she did not expect to win. She only found out when Schoofs called to congratulate her on her victory.

“I was totally shocked, I didn’t expect this to happen,” Rajagopalan said by phone from London.

She said that she is very grateful to the team that worked with her in this regard, including her collaborators Killing and Buschek, her editor Alex Campbell, the BuzzFeed News public relations team, and the organizations that funded their work, including the Pulitzer Center.

Rajagopalan also acknowledged the courage of the sources with whom they spoke, despite the risks and threats of retaliation for them and their families.

“I am grateful that they stood up and are willing to talk to us,” she said. “It takes incredible courage to do this.”

The three of them set out to analyze thousands of satellite images in the Xinjiang region (larger than Alaska), trying to answer a simple question: Where are the Chinese officials holding up to 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities?

For months, the trio compared censored Chinese images with uncensored mapping software. They started with a huge data set containing 50,000 locations. Buschek built a custom tool to sort these images. Then, “the team had to browse thousands of pictures one by one, verifying many websites based on other available evidence,” BuzzFeed News wrote in its award-winning work.

They finally identified more than 260 buildings that appeared to be fortified detention camps.Some sites can accommodate more than 10,000 people, many sites contain Factory where prisoners are forced to labor.

Groundbreaking technical reports were accompanied by extensive old-fashioned “shoe leather” news reports.

Raja Gopalan was rejected by China and went to neighboring Kazakhstan, known for his autocratic impulse, where many Chinese Muslims have sought asylum.There, Rajagopalan found more than 20 people who had been held in Xinjiang concentration camps, won their trust and convinced them Share their nightmarish accounts with the world.

An article takes the reader In one of the camps, Described in unprecedented vivid details from the survivor’s narrative, and then rendered it into a 3D model with the help of Keeling’s architectural skills.

“During her reporting, Rajagopalan had to endure the harassment from the Chinese government. Apart from forcing her to clean up her apartment in Beijing within a short period of time, the Chinese government has been insisting on it,” the winning entry wrote. Once, “The Chinese government posted her personal information on Twitter, including her government ID number.”

In the end, these four story series depict detailed accounts of China’s terrible detention and treatment of its Muslim citizens Be labeled as genocide and crimes against humanity.

The second honor of BuzzFeed News is FinCEN Files, which was named a finalist in the international reporting category.

The series is hailed as the largest reporting project in history. More than 100 news organizations from 88 countries have collaborated to produce a series of reports in 16 months.

It all started in 2017, when BuzzFeed journalist Jason Leopold (Jason Leopold) received a large number of confidential US government documents from a certain source. These documents include more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports or SARs, which are top-secret documents submitted by banks to alert the government to potential criminal activities. Few people have seen the public.

In cooperation with the International Federation of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed News, and collaborative news editors, read the document carefully. The narrative part is 3 million words long-14 times the length of the novel Moby DickThen they conducted three fact-checks on all this. This process took more than a year to complete.

In addition, reporters conducted hundreds of interviews around the world, obtained large amounts of internal bank data and thousands of pages of public records, and filed dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests and several public records lawsuits.

The investigation revealed how the five giants of the global banking industry—JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon—profited from suspicious transactions involving drug smugglers and terrorists.

The global response to stories that expose the torrent of dirty money has been profound. The FinCEN document is considered to be finally adopted Comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation in the United States. From the United Kingdom to the European Union, from Thailand to Liberia, legislators have also been conducting their own investigations.

“FinCEN documents,” Schoofs said, “take financial reporting to new heights. Jason received an unprecedented number of secret government documents from the brave source Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, and she was recently sentenced to prison for providing these documents. Starting with these valuable documents, an immortal report that spans the globe revealed how the major banks profited from the flow of dirty money through their accounts, while the US government only watched but took little action.”

Last week, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a former Treasury official, was sentenced to six months in prison for leaking highly classified bank documents to Leopold. Edwards, a former senior adviser to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the Ministry of the Treasury, was not accused of leaking the documents that were the basis of the FinCEN document series, but she admitted to doing so after being sentenced.

Mark Schoofs, BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief, Pulitzer Prize He himself wrote an article for international reports in 2000 “New York Times” review article On Thursday, President Joe Biden was called on to pardon Edwards in recognition of the great corruption exposed by her actions.

The 11 current and former BuzzFeed journalists awarded by the Pulitzer Committee to the FinCEN series of awards are Leopold, Anthony Cormier, John Templon, Tom Warren, Jeremy Singer-Vine, Scott Pham, Richard Holmes, Azeen Ghorayshi, Michael Sallah, Tanya Kozyreva and Ai Mar cycle.

BuzzFeed News was previously listed as a Pulitzer finalist. In 2018, the media led to the finals of international reports due to a series of reports. These reports combined more than a dozen deaths in the United States and the United Kingdom with The Kremlin’s targeted assassination plan. A year ago, BuzzFeed News was named a finalist in the same category due to a survey that revealed how Large companies take advantage of powerful dispute resolution procedures Make the country succumb to their will.

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