Winners and Finalists : 2012 Winners

Excellence in Local Reporting

Alexandra Zayas, 29, of Tampa Bay Times for, "In God's Name"

Zaya's one-year investigation uncovered corporal abuse of children in unlicensed religious group homes. Zayas reported on a 1984 Florida law that permits church run teen homes to operate without state oversight and exempts them from state laws on corporal punishment. She uncovered practices that could be called torture: children forcibly pinned to the ground for hours, placed in solitary confinement for days and made to stand still until urinating on themselves.

Alexandra Zayas
Alexandra Zayas, 29

“I sought to tell a story that had gone untold for almost three decades” says Zayas.“The state launched a crackdown on this group of homes in response to the investigation, and the Florida House passed a bill to provide better oversight.”

Excellence in National Reporting

Rachel Manteuffel, 28, in Washingtonian Magazine for, "The Things They Leave Behind"

Manteuffel offered a poignant look at the items left by visitors at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Each offering, a graduation tassel, bullet casings, a letter from a 37-year-old woman to her lover who is still 21, is collected, catalogued and stored as a way of recording the nation's grief over an unpopular war.

Rachel Manteuffel, 28

“The Wall is about stories," says Manteuffel. "The little ones are told in letters and objects left behind - eccentric items that speak of matters so intimate, they may be indecipherable except to two people - one living, one dead.”


Excellence in International Reporting

John D. Sutter, 29, and Edythe McNamee, 27, of CNN Digital for, "Slavery's Last Stronghold"

Mauritania abolished slavery in 2008, but only one person has been prosecuted for slavery since then and the tradition continues. Sutter's and McNamee's interviews with slaves and slave owners found a deeply ingrained system in which family history and skin color continue to separate the free from the enslaved.

John D. Sutter, 29, and Edythe McNamee, 27

"Some of the enslaved don't fully understand freedom," said the team of Sutter and McNamee. "They haven't been allowed to understand it. That was a heartbreaking revelation."