East Valley Tribune reporter Ryan Gabrielson and former Tribber Paul Giblin have brought home a Pulitzer prize for their work on a series that exposed apparent racial profiling and wasted resources in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's anti-illegal-immigrant tactics.
The newspaper tied with the Detroit Free Press to win in the category of Local Reporting.
It's the first Pulitzer for the East Valley Tribune.
Ironically, Giblin was laid off in early January as part of the Tribune's major downsizing that was announced last year.
The Tribune itself is still on thin ice even as it basks in Pulitzer glory -- the paper recently laid off more employees and shrunk to three editions each week instead of four. As we reported on Sunday, the Trib failed to renew its domain name in time to prevent its Web site from going down over the weekend.
The Tribune series on Arpaio hit the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office like a Taser strike, paralyzing its typically glib public information office. The office failed to respond to the series for weeks and has still not refuted its major findings. Based on the report, the conservative Goldwater Institute launched its own investigative project and concluded Arpaio was wasting resources.
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Following yesterday's Web site screw-up, this news was just what the Tribune needed to regain confidence.
Even if the newspaper really is on the way out, it'll go down swinging.