Three Southern dailies win Pulitzers
The Washington Post was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, one for public service and another for explanatory journalism. In addition, Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) won a Pulitzer for local reporting, and Kevin Siers of The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning.
Public Service and Explanatory Journalism
The Pulitzer for Public Service was given to The Post's sweeping coverage of the National Security Agency and intelligence community – more than six months of definitive, groundbreaking reporting led by Barton Gellman based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Eli Saslow received the Pulitzer for Explanatory Journalism for his ability to transform the complicated subject of the United States' $78 billion food stamp program in a post-recession America into understandable and deeply affecting stories.
Honored as a co-recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, The Post's coverage of NSA shattered the secrecy of a clandestine government program called PRISM, exposed the NSA's repeated violations of its own privacy rules and more, bringing to light a discussion about the sometimes uneasy balance between individual privacy and national security. For an inside look at how the coverage came together, The Post will host a "Behind the Headlines" panel discussion on Wednesday, April 23, at the paper.
Saslow's explanatory reporting on food stamps spanned six stories. The first begins with a look at Woonsocket, R.I., where one-third of the residents receive food stamps, detailing the astonishing transformation of a despairing town on the day each month when those food stamps arrive. Saslow's subsequent stories focused on hungry senior citizens in Florida, needy children in rural Tennessee, a Florida Congressman's push for an historic overhaul of the food stamp program, the effects of a government feeding program in Hidalgo County, Texas, and finally, a 41-year-old mother of six in Washington, D.C., who has been on food stamps her entire life.
The Post was also named a finalist in breaking news for its coverage of the shootings at Washington Navy Yard and in feature photography for Michael Williamson's revealing photographs that defy food-stamp stereotypes. See all of The Post's winning coverage.
Since 1936, The Washington Post has won 60 Pulitzer Prizes.
The Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting went to Tampa Bay Times staff writers Will Hobson, 29, and Michael LaForgia, 30, whose reporting on the county's Homeless Recovery program revealed that the agency – created in 1989 to provide transitional housing for the poor – funneled millions of public dollars to slumlords and placed families in unsafe living conditions.
It was the 10th Pulitzer Prize the Times has won and the second since it changed its name from the St. Petersburg Times in 2012. Hobson and LaForgia are the youngest journalists to win in the newspaper's history. Their prize is the first the Times has won in the contest's local reporting category.
Also nominated as finalists in the local reporting category were Joan Garrett McClane, Todd South, Doug Strickland and Mary Helen Miller of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press for using an array of journalistic tools to explore the "no-snitch" culture that helps perpetuate a cycle of violence in one of the most dangerous cities in the South.
Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer was recognized for his thought provoking cartoons drawn with a sharp wit and bold artistic style.
The portfolio of 20 cartoons on national topics submitted to the Pulitzer jurors was typical of Siers' range as an "equal opportunity" satirist of politicians on both sides of the aisle. President Barack Obama is a frequent target.
Also nominated as finalists were:
- International Reporting – Rukmini Callimachi of The Associated Press for her discovery and fearless exploration of internal documents that shattered myths and deepened understanding of the global terrorist network of al-Qaida.
- Feature Writing – Scott Farwell of The Dallas Morning News for his story about a young woman's struggle to live a normal life after years of ghastly child abuse, an examination of human resilience in the face of depravity.
- Commentary – Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle for her provocative metro columns written from the perspective of a sixth-generation Texan, often challenging the powerful and giving voice to the voiceless. (Read more)