They won the Pulitzer for local reporting. This is the second Pulitzer for John, Remkus, and Stephens, and the first for Ramsey.
If you can believe it, John initially expressed hesitation over his son joining his profession, due to a lack of jobs and stability. "At the same time, I'm out giving speeches to people saying we desperately need young, smart, creative, thoughtful, honest young people to carry us through journalism until we figure this stuff out. So how in the world could I not want somebody I know who has all of those things to go into the business?"
What's the big deal? Aside from winning one of the highest honors in the industry, the investigative work the Archibalds contributed to led to big changes.
They found that Brookside, Al had very little crime reported to the state, yet used fines and fees to bring in half its revenue.
John said people in the town of just over 1,200 people were being pulled over for minor infractions like following too closely while driving, or using paper tags while driving a recently purchased car. And when they were stopped they would "end up with seven or eight or nine or 10 charges against them, misdemeanors that would cost them thousands and thousands of dollars."
This reporting ultimately led to the resignation of the police chief, four new laws, and a state audit. It also led to some people being freed from jail.
John: It's the most amazing thing I've ever felt. But, you know, sitting here today, and to do that with my kid is the greatest thing I've ever done in my career.
Ramsey: It's really difficult to put into words, honestly, but it's really just a pleasure and an honor to work with this team. And to do it with my dad is unbelievable. But to do it with the journalist that my dad is - you know, take our relationship out of it - I'm pretty lucky to do that also.
Pretty exciting day. I enjoyed this team, and going back to my reporting roots. Awards are cool and all, but nothing compares to the hearing people say they got their lives back. That will stick forever. Congrats everyone.https://t.co/gDhfbgg5iJ
John: I've done a lot of stuff over the years that cost people jobs, that cost politicians their careers or that, you know, sent people to jail. And that's one kind of feeling. And it's really important in journalism. But in this situation, I mean, there were people over and over coming to me and saying, you know, I got my life back. And in 37 years of doing this job, I've never experienced anything like that. And it gives me a whole new perspective on why we do this job.
Ramsey: I mean, that's the reason you get into this field. And it's so great to get this kind of recognition and for people to pay attention beyond Alabama. But it would have been worth it without any of this just to have those people, like you said, come say, I got my life back from this. I think that's all you can ask for.
So, what now?
The reporting has also received recognition from The National Headliner Awards, the George Polk awards, and the Hillman prize for web journalism, among others.
And the Brookside investigation was part of a larger series, Banking on Crime that delved into the practice of for-profit policing in Alabama.
Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.