Former Calgarian wins Pulitzer Prize for New York Times reporting
Susanne Craig wrote an award-winning article about U.S. President Donald Trump
A Calgarian who now reports for the New York Times has won a Pulitzer Prize.
Calgary-born Susanne Craig won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting, along with her colleagues David Barstow and Russ Buettner. The journalists wrote the award-winning article last October — the result of an 18-month investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump's business empire.
She was on The Homestretch Tuesday to discuss her win.
Here's an abridged version of the conversation.
Q: What was the reaction from your friends and family?
A: Just super happy for me. I have a lot of friends and family in Calgary and I've heard from so many people.
I have hundreds of notes, it's just great. So it's a good way to kind of celebrate. I mean it took so long for us and it was so hard.
Q: Can you explain the crux of your article for those who may not have had the chance to read it?
A: We started with a really simple question; we didn't set out to do an 18-month investigation.
One day in 2017, in March, three pages of Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns were anonymously mailed to a reporter.
One of the interesting things that was in the returns that we couldn't quite make sense of was how did Donald Trump make money in that year?
We started to peel back the layers of that and we found, you know, fairly quickly that his father Fred Trump had died in 1999, and his empire had very quietly sold five years later for more than $800 million.
We pieced all of this together to find that not only did he receive hundreds of millions of dollars over his lifetime from his father, but there was fraudulent tax schemes that were involved to enhance that wealth, so they wouldn't have to pay as much tax on it.
Q: People see a story like this they hear Pulitzer Prize and they go 'Wow that's really glamorous,' but this was an 18-month investigation. How did you pull it all together?
A: It was a long 18 months. I mean, we worked right through and you know didn't really look up and it was just you start going through the public documents.
Once we were able, through sources, to get more information and to get all these confidential records that we got and it was piecing all of that together. None of these documents on their own screamed fraud.
Q: So what kind of response did your story get from President Trump? He declined to be interviewed?
A: We got comment from his attorney who is not somebody who was not involved at all in the business operations, but somebody who they hire when they want to sue reporters.
They said they denied the allegations of tax fraud and threatened to sue us. And then he said very little afterwards.
The family sent us a statement too, denying the allegations.
Q: The article was one of the longest investigative articles ever published in The New York Times.
A: It was 14,000 (words), just over, I think. And they published it twice, which is crazy.