Dana Priest: Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter

'81 Merrill College, politics graduate, reporter, and national security correspondent who has worked over 20 years investigating and reporting about national and international security issues

May 18, 2011

By Andrea Cohen 

Dana Priest

Dana Priest is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author. For over 20 years, she has worked for The Washington Post, reporting from hot spots around the world, including Panama, Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. As one of the Post's specialists on national security, the reporter/national security correspondent has written frequently about the U.S. "War on Terror."

Priest earned her second Pulitzer Prize in April 2008 for an exposé of the mistreatment of wounded Iraq war veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. That made her the first UCSC graduate to have twice been awarded journalism's highest honor. Her first Pulitzer was awarded in 2006 for exposing secret U.S. government "black site" prisons, the international transport of terror suspects, and the torture memo that authorized "enhanced interrogation" techniques. That reporting also won her a George Polk Award. Priest's widely acclaimed 2003 book about the U.S. military's expanding responsibility and influence, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military, earned the New York Public Library Bernstein Book Award and was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction.

In 2008-09 Priest was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award; and in 2005-06, she was awarded the inaugural Distinguished Social Sciences Alumni Award for outstanding achievement.

As an undergraduate, Priest was editor of UCSC's City on a Hill Press, and she says she still appreciates the opportunities the campus provided. "I chose UCSC because it had a reputation for independent thinking, for critical thinking. You could make your own path there."

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