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Herald named Pulitzer finalist for series on neglect at assisted living facilities

The 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists have been announced and the Miami Herald was a finalist in the category of Public Service Journalism for its series, Neglected to Death, by reporters Rob Barry, Carol Marbin Miller, Mike Sallah, Kenny Malone  and Ana Larrauri.

The judges commended The Herald "for its exposure of deadly abuses and lax state oversight in Florida's assisted-living facilities for the elderly and mentally ill that resulted in the closure of dangerous homes, punishment of violators and creation of tougher laws and regulations." Despite the series, the Florida Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have imposed tough new safeguards on the industry in Florida.

Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marques Gonzalez said the Pulitzer recognition "is a welcome acknowledgement of extraordinary work that literally saved lives." Read Pulitzer story here.

Winners of the top prizes in journalism include:

 * The Philadelphia Inquirer for its exploration of pervasive violence in the city's schools, using powerful print narratives and videos to illuminate crimes committed by children against children and to stir reforms to improve safety for teachers and students

* Breaking news reporting: The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News staff for its enterprising coverage of a deadly tornado, using social media as well as traditional reporting to provide real-time updates, help locate missing people and produce in-depth print accounts even after power disruption forced the paper to publish at another plant 50 miles away. Finalists: The Arizona Republic Staff, Phoenix, for its comprehensive coverage of the mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

* Investigative reporting: Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press for their spotlighting of the New York Police Department's clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities, resulting in congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering; and 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. Finalists: Gary Marx and David Jackson of the Chicago Tribune for their exposure of a neglectful state justice system that allowed dozens of brutal criminals to evade punishment by fleeing the country.