Penn State reporting wins Pulitzer

Sara Ganim and staff members of The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., have won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in local reporting for breaking the story of an alleged child sexual abuse scandal that led to the firing of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

In March 2011, Ganim, 24, first reported that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was being investigated by a grand jury on allegations of sexual abuse against children.

In November, the grand jury charged Sandusky on multiple counts of child sexual abuse. It also charged athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. All three men have maintained they are innocent of the charges.

The fallout led to the university board of trustees firing Paterno on Nov. 9 and removing university president Graham Spanier. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.

The Pulitzers are considered the most prestigious honors in American journalism.

"What really struck me about this story and about Sara's work is that this was not a case where we uncovered some big issue or wanted to look at some big issue or did a massive investigation. This was a case of a reporter doing her job," Patriot-News editor David Newhouse said of Ganim, the newspaper reported on its website.

California Watch, founded by the Berkeley, Calif.-based Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Advertiser-Democrat, a weekly newspaper in Norway, Maine, were the other finalists in the local reporting category.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.