She loves the crime beat. Now she’s got a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting to show for it.
Working harder than everyone else is what it takes, especially when you’re a 24 year-old reporter.
Sara Ganim was standing in her pink socks in the office of the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News when she heard the news Monday. The 24-year-old crime reporter, who beat the nation’s sports journalists to the scoop of the year, the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, had become one of the youngest-ever recipients of a Pulitzer Prize. It was the first ever for the 157-year-old Patriot-News.
[...] While speaking with a source in 2009 for a Centre Daily Times story she says can’t remember now, Ganim wound up the interview by asking if there was anything else she should know about. “Well, actually a boy just came forward to the police and alleged sex crimes against Jerry Sandusky,” the source replied.
Vaguely familiar with the name, Ganim scrawled it on a sticky note on her computer monitor, thinking to herself that she’d Google it the next day. She wound up combing through online message boards where Penn State fans and alumni shared rumors no one wanted to believe about the retired assistant coach’s relationship with young boys. She went door to door, asking people if they’d heard anything about Sandusky, seeking interviews, looking to nail down the hard facts.
By March 2011 she’d gathered enough information to piece together a front-page story reporting that Sandusky was the subject of a grand-jury investigation. Such proceedings are secret in Pennsylvania, and Ganim relied on anonymous quotations from five people close to the case who told her that the investigation had been proceeding for about a year and a half.
Way to go, Ms. Ganim.