New York: Washington Post and Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service on Monday for revealing the US government's sweeping surveillance programmes in a blockbuster series of stories based on secret documents supplied by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The Pulitzer for breaking news was awarded to Boston Globe for its "exhaustive and empathetic'' coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed.
Two of the nation's biggest and most distinguished newspapers, Post and New York Times, won two Pulitzers each, while the other awards were scattered among a variety of publications large and small.
The stories about the National Security Agency's spy programmes revealed that the government has systematically collected information about millions of Americans' phone calls and emails in its effort to head off terrorist attacks. The resulting furor led President Barack Obama to impose limits on the surveillance.
The reporting "helped stimulate the very important discussion about the balance between privacy and security, and that discussion is still going on,'' Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.
The NSA stories were written by Barton Gellman at Washington Post and Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, whose work was published by Guardian US, the British newspaper's American operation, based in New York.
"I think this is amazing news,'' Poitras said. "It's a testament to Snowden's courage, a vindication of his courage and his desire to let the public know what the government is doing.''