WASHINGTON -- A McClatchy series about the Guantanamo Bay detention center, "Guantanamo: Beyond the Law," was declared the top investigative project among large Web sites by the Online News Association during its annual convention over the weekend in San Francisco.
The 2008 project, by reporters Tom Lasseter and Matthew Schofield, was based on interviews with 66 former Guantanamo detainees, who recounted how they were treated at Guantanamo and at the U.S. detention center at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Lasseter and Schofield traveled to eight countries over 11 months to research the stories.
The investigation of the detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks found that the U.S. imprisoned innocent men, subjected them to abuse, stripped them of their legal rights and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad.
The online project totaled more than 100,000 words and was published in full at McClatchyDC.com, the Web site of the McClatchy Washington Bureau. It consisted of 12 stories that summarized the reporters' findings, 65 stories on the interviewed former prisoners and photographs and video by Travis Heying, a photographer with McClatchy's Wichita Eagle.
The Internet presentation also included a searchable database and interactive graphics designed by McClatchy Interactive's staff in Raleigh N.C., graphics by the staff of McClatchy-Tribune Information Services and an archive of relevant documents. A shorter version was distributed as a five-day series to McClatchy's 30 newspapers.
The full project can be viewed at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/detainees.
ONA's judges called the project "dramatic, on-the-record stuff that we now know is true . . . a hell of a job."
Runners-up in the category were The Washington Post and The Seattle Times.
ONA is the world's largest association of Internet journalists, with a membership that includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, technologists, photographers and others who produce news for the Internet.
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