2009 Pulitzer Prizes: Journalism

April 20, 2009
Here at Columbia journalism school for the 2009 Pulitzer Awards, I and the other reporters have asked administrator Sig Gissler several questions about accepting online-only entries for prizes. (None won this year). There will be more postings on that subject later, but in the meantime, here are the prizes.

(UPDATE: Our wire story, which ran a little while ago, notes the interesting nature of the Pulitzer gang gradually accepting online-only journalism as legitimate. It also notes that the financial crisis, arguably one of the biggest stories in the past year, failed to garner any nods. Not only that, The Wall Street Journal has not won a single Pulitzer since Murdoch bought parent company Dow Jones & Co. And in one final, bitter note: two winners have been laid off since they did the work that won them their prizes, Jeff Bercovici at Portfolio.com reports.)

Pulitzer Prizes 2009 — journalism:

  • Public Service:
    Las Vegas Sun — and “notably to the courageous reporting by Alexandra Berzon, for the exposure of the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip amid lax enforcement of regulations, leading to changes in policy and improved safety conditions.”
  • Breaking News Reporting:
    The New York Times – Coverage of the sex scandal that resulted in the resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
  • Investigative Reporting:
    The New York Times – “Awarded to David Barstow of The New York Times for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.”
  • Explanatory Reporting:
    Los Angeles Times – “Awarded to Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times for their fresh and painstaking exploration into the cost and effectiveness of attempts to combat the growing menace of wildfires across the western United States.”
  • Local Reporting:
    Detroit Free Press – “And notably Jim Schaefer and M.L. Elrick for their uncovering of a pattern of lies by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that included denial of a sexual relationship with his female chief of staff, prompting an investigation of perjury that eventually led to jail terms for two officials.”
  • Local Reporting:
    East Valley Tribune – “Awarded to Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin… for their adroit use of limited resources to reveal, in print and online, how a popular sheriff’s focus on immigration enforcement endangered investigation of violent crime and other aspects of public safety.”
  • National Reporting:
    St. Petersburg Times – “For PolitiFact, its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaing that used probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web to examine more than 750 political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters.
  • International Reporting:
    The New York Times staff – “For its masterful groundbreaking coverage of America’s deepening military and political challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reporting frequently done under perilous conditions.”
  • Feature Writing:
    St. Petersburg Times – “Awarded to Lane DeGregory… for her moving, richly detailed story of a neglected little girl, found in a roach-infested room, unable to talk or feed herself, who was adopted by a new family committed to her nurturing.”
  • Commentary:
    The Washington Post – “Awarded to Eugene Robinson… for his eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focused on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and a grasp of the larger historic picture.”
  • Criticism:
    The New York Times – “Awarded to Holland Cotter… for his wide ranging reviews of art, from Manhattan to China, marked by acute observation, luminous writing and dramatic storytelling.”
  • Editorial Writing:
    The Post-Star, Glens Falls, New York – Awarded to “Mark Mahoney… for his relentless, down-to-earth editorials on the perils of local government secrecy, effectively admonishing citizens to uphold their right to know.”
  • Editorial Cartooning:
    The San Diego Union-Tribune – “Awarded to Steve Breen… for his agile use of a classic style to produce wide-ranging cartoons that engage readers with power, clarity and humor.”
  • Breaking News Photography:
    The Miami Herald – “Awarded to Patrick Farrell… for his provocative, impeccably composed images of despair after Hurricane Ike and other lethal storms caused a humanitarian disaster in Haiti.”
  • Feature Photography:
    The New York Times – “Awarded to Damon Winter… for his memorable array of pictures deftly capturing multiple facets of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.”
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