Podcast: AL.com in Brookside, Alabama

Access the transcript for this episode here.

In the first episode of the Pulitzer on the Road Podcast, we head to Brookside, Alabama, where 2023 Local Reporting winners John Archibald and Ashley Remkus revisit their reporting about police corruption in this small municipality. They’re joined by Pulitzer Board Co-Chair Neil Brown of the Poynter Institute.

In Brookside (population 1,253), a town just north of Montgomery, the team meets with local residents (both on the street and at a town hall) to talk about their experiences of being pulled over by local police and being fined hundreds and thousands of dollars, ordeals that culminated in many losing their cars. Archibald points out that “49 percent of the budget of this town was funded” by this police activity, resulting in a 640 percent increase in the town’s income from fines and fees over a two-year period.

AL.com’s local investigative reporting uncovered what was happening. Their series ultimately exposed how the police force in Brookside preyed on residents to inflate revenue, coverage that prompted the resignation of the police chief, four new laws and a state audit. 

You can read the AL.com team’s winning portfolio (including work by colleagues Ramsey Archibald and Challen Stephens) here.

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The Pulitzer on the Road Podcast is a production of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and produced by Central Sound at Arizona PBS. The producers are Anna Williams and Alex Kosiorek from Arizona PBS and Nicole Carroll. Pulitzer Administrator Marjorie Miller is the executive producer. 

To learn more about the Pulitzer on the Road Podcast and to listen to other episodes in this series, click here.