In April 2011, Bernstein and colleague Jesse Eisinger were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of stories on questionable Wall Street practices that helped make the financial crisis the worst since the Great Depression.
Prior to joining ProPublica, Bernstein worked at The Texas Observer, an investigative biweekly, for six years, and as its executive editor from 2004 to 2008. Bernstein began his career in Central America, where for several years he reported on efforts to end longstanding civil conflicts. He served as a staff writer for the Pasadena [Texas] Citizen and then for the Miami New Times. His work has received numerous state-level and national journalism awards, and The Texas Observer, under his leadership, was named Best Political Magazine of 2005 by Utne Reader. Bernstein is co-author of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency (2006).