Ali Winston, a freelance journalist who writes often for the Express, has won a Freedom of Information award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter. Winston has authored a series of investigative stories on the Oakland Police Department over the past few years, detailing misconduct within the agency and its inability to live up to court-mandated reforms.
SPJ said that Winston, a 2010 graduate of UC Berkeley's graduate school of journalism, "has already distinguished himself as a dogged and incisive investigative reporter evocative of the best of previous generations. He receives the Professional Journalist award for amassing such an impressive body of important work so early in his career.
Over the past two years, Winston has illuminated numerous scandals concerning the Oakland Police Department as it faced the threat of federal receivership. Utilizing public records requests, court records, confidential sources and gumshoe reporting, he has documented the department's failure to solve or even thoroughly investigate homicides; identified officers responsible for egregious uses of force at Occupy Oakland; uncovered key details of controversial officer-involved shootings; unearthed evidence of federal surveillance of peaceful protesters; detailed the complex legal and political aspects of the OPD’s oversight by the federal judiciary; and otherwise reported consistently on the department's failure to engage in constitutional policing."