Margot Williams

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Margot Williams
NationalityUnited States
Occupationjournalist, research librarian, dancer, actress
Known formember of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002

Margot Williams is a journalist and research librarian, who was part of teams at the Washington Post that won two Pulitzer Prizes.[1][2][3] In 1998, Williams was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Gold Medal for public service for reporting on the high rate of police shootings in Washington, D.C. In 2002, Williams was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its coverage of the "war on terror".


Degree[4] Institution Field
High School of Performing Arts dancer and actress
B.A. CCNY Asian Studies
M.S. Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science Library and Information Science

Acting career[edit]

Williams worked as a dancer and as an actress prior to finishing her academic career.[4]

Career in Journalism[edit]

Early in her career in journalism, Williams worked as the Library Director at the Poughkeepsie Journal.[4]

In 1990, Williams joined the Washington Post.[4] While there, Williams was one of the contributors to the "Networkings" column.[5]

In 2004, Williams joined to the New York Times.[6] While working at the New York Times, Williams spearheaded the paper's publication of a searchable database of 16,000 pages of documents produced by the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants.[1][2] The New York Times introduced its "Guantanamo Dockets" on November 3, 2008. The dockets are based on the personal notes Williams had started to compile as she read all 16,000 pages concerning the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

In 2010, Williams left The New York Times and joined National Public Radio as a correspondent.[7]


In 1981, Williams wrote the book, Cuba from Columbus to Castro.[2] In 1999, Williams wrote the book, GREAT SCOUTS: CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web.[4]


year award institution
1998 Gold Medal for public service Pulitzer
1999 Local or State Government Coverage Associated Press
2002 National Reporting Pulitzer
2004 Sports Editors Awards category of explanatory reporting for newspapers over 250,000 circulation Associated Press
2005 International News Reporting Grand Prize Annual Front Page Guild Service Awards


  1. ^ a b Eric Umansky (2009-01-15). "Gitmo Database Details 779 Prisoners' Cases". Propublica. Archived from the original on 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2010-06-07. We found the project so interesting that we decided to ring Margot Williams, the Times’ database research editor, who has spearheaded the effort. Margot has been involved in breaking Gitmo stories for years. In fact, she’s such a junkie, she said she put a recording of KSM’s confession [8] on her cellphone.
  2. ^ a b c Forrest Glenn Spencer (September 2009). "10 questions: Margot Williams: a 24-hour news cycle and competition from other news outlets keep Margot Williams busy helping reporters at the New York Times meet the paper's high standards for accuracy and thoroughness". Information Outlook. Retrieved 2010-06-07. I was also on a team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting of the war on terrorism. In this effort, I was a member of a team that included Bob Woodward. I have to say that every prize that I have ever been involved with has been a team project, so it's not like the Pulitzer Prize is in my name. In order to get recognized, you have to have your name on the story somehow when it appears in print. In all my years in news librarianship, we'd have to fight to get credit on a story. That's the first step, and that's how it came about that researchers became part of Pulitzer Prize-winning teams.
  3. ^ a b "Margo Williams". Park Library. 1999. Archived from the original on 2010-06-07. On Jan. 15, 2009, Margo Williams' extraordinary efforts in creating a searchable database of government documents on all the prisoners the Pentagon has acknowledged being held there received prominent coverage in ProPublica. The direct link is .
  4. ^ a b c d e Margot Williams (1999-11-17). "GREAT SCOUTS: CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2010-06-07. Williams came to the Post in October 1990 from the Poughkeepsie Journal where she was the Library Director. She attended the famous High School of Performing Arts of "Fame" fame and worked as a dancer and actress before graduating from CCNY and Pratt Institute Graduate School. Williams holds a BA in Asian Studies and MS in Library and Information Science.
  5. ^ Margot Williams (2010-05-22). "News pundit evangelizes for friends at Google". Inside Google. Archived from the original on 2011-10-29. Retrieved 2011-10-29. She was lead researcher on two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams at The Washington Post for reporting on terrorism in 2002 and for an investigation of the use of deadly force by the District of Columbia police in 1999. Margot is the co-author of “Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web” (Cyberage Books, 1999) and contributed to the “Networkings” column in The Washington Post for five years.
  6. ^ "Pulitzer Prize-winning research editor to speak at WVU J-School Tuesday". Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. 2007-09-17. Archived from the original on 2011-10-29. Retrieved 2011-10-29. Williams is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) News Division. She is a frequent speaker and trainer for her own newsroom colleagues and the IRE, SLA, Poynter Institute, Knight Program at Ohio State University, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, American Press Institute, Freedom Forum and numerous other conferences and seminars.
  7. ^ Michael Calderone (2011-04-25). "WikiLeaks' Guantanamo Bay Documents: The Backstory On News Outlets' Race To Publish Them". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2011-10-29. Retrieved 2011-10-29. A few weeks ago, the Times informed NPR investigative unit head Susanne Reber and reporter Margot Williams -- who joined NPR last year after having previously maintained the Times' Guantanamo Bay database -- to give them the news: the paper had obtained the GITMO files.