Articles about "Pulitzer Prizes"


4 things Pulitzer winners have in common

The winners of four 2013 Pulitzer Prizes came together Tuesday night at Poynter to talk about their work and their wins. They came from Florida, New York and a shop with people scattered around the country, from three large papers and one nonprofit news site. They won for work on speeding cops, diluted bitumen, fluoride in the water and cross-border corruption at Wal-Mart.

Other than that Pulitzer, the work of the seven people present Tuesday night didn’t have much in common.

But, for most, the processes they used to produce their work did. Read more

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Sig Gissler will retire as Pulitzer administrator

Sig Gissler will retire from his job as administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, Columbia University announced Wednesday. He’s had the post since 2002.

Danielle Allen of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study will lead a search committee to replace Gissler. Others involved, per the release:

Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University; Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School; Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal; and [Paul] Tash, chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times. Ann Marie Lipinski, Curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and former member of the Pulitzer Board, will serve as counsel to the committee. Inquiries about the position should be directed to Susan Glancy, in President Bollinger’s office, using the e-mail address of

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Pulitzer Prize board seeks broader participation in editorial writing category

The Pulitzer Prize board is encouraging smaller publications to submit entries in the editorial writing category.

Paul Tash, chair of the Pulitzer board and CEO of Poynter’s Tampa Bay Times, writes in a letter: “Contrary to common perception, a competitive entry need not be an editorial campaign that focuses on a particular issue and shows results, such as the passage of a law or the jailing of a corrupt official.” Pulitzer-winning editorials, he said, “influence and advance public debate” and “get people to see things differently.”

Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said via email that “over the last decade or so, participation by smaller news organizations has declined.”

The Tampa Bay Times’ Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth won the 2013 Pulitzer for editorial writing.

Here’s Tash’s full letter, which was posted on and sent to the American Society of News Editors, the Association of Opinion Journalists and other potential entrants. Read more


Tampa Bay Times CEO will head Pulitzer board

Columbia University announced Wednesday that Tampa Bay Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash will chair the Pulitzer Prize board. Tash became a member of the board in 2006. Chairmen serve for one year, while board members serve a maximum of nine years.

Tash in 2011. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Tash, a former editor of the Times, replaces Denver Post Editor Gregory Moore and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who served as co-chairs.

Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times; Tash is also chairman of Poynter’s board of trustees. The Tampa Bay Times’ Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth won a Pulitzer last month for a series of editorials on fluoride in drinking water, and its writers Alexandra Zayas and Kelley Benham were finalists in two other categories. The paper has nine Pulitzers. Read more


4 questions about the Pulitzer Prizes

Discussion of the winners and finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prizes was muted Monday, as news producers and consumers turned their attention to the bombings in Boston. But 24 hours later, enough time has passed for a little journo-navel-gazing:

What does it take for women to win Pulitzers? Before 1991, a graduate degree and a Northeastern upbringing helped, University of Missouri professor Yong Volz and Chinese University of Hong Kong professor Francis L. F. Lee write in a new study. The study, which I first wrote about in October, was published by Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly earlier this month.

Those advantages compensated for a historical bias against women both in newsrooms and in prize competitions, Volz and Lee write. Statistics showed them the importance of those advantages lessened after 1991, but “gender disadvantage has not completely disappeared,” they write.

Even after 1991, only 26.9% of all Pulitzer winners in journalism were females. The percentage is lower than the percentage of females in American newsrooms, which stands at about 33%.

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Javier Manzano first freelance photographer to win Pulitzer in 17 years

Javier Manzano was “shocked” when he found out he had won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.

“To be honest, I am still having a bit of trouble processing the magnitude of the recognition,” Manzano, a freelancer for Agence France-Presse, said by email Tuesday morning. “I feel privileged to be [in] the company of my colleagues who also work as freelancers in some of the most challenging environments with little or no outside support.”

Freelancers have won Pulitzer prizes in the past, but not nearly as often as full-time journalists have. Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler told Poynter that it’s been 17 years since a freelance photographer won a Pulitzer. (Two freelance photographers — Charles Porter IV and Stephanie Welsh — won in 1996.)

Manzano won for a photo of two rebel soldiers guarding their sniper’s nest in Aleppo, as light streams through bullet holes in the wall behind them. Karmel Jabl, the neighborhood in which Manzano captured the photo, separates many of the major battlegrounds in Aleppo. Read more

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Pulitzer, finalists are source of pride for Poynter

My usual pride in the Poynter Institute derives from its benign influence on journalists across the globe. Such influence may flow from a seminar or conference, an online course, or work published on this website. We teach journalism in the public interest, and we celebrate it.

But today that pride derives from another, lesser-known role played by Poynter as the owner of the Tampa Bay Times. That newspaper, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, just won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing and produced two finalists — one for investigative reporting and another for feature writing.

Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth earned the big prize for their editorials denouncing local county commissioners who, embracing paranoid ideology over medical science, took fluoride out of the water supply. Thanks to editorials in the Times, those responsible were voted out of office and the fluoride restored.

Alexandra Zayas, who has taught at Poynter, was honored for investigative work calling attention to abusive practices in unlicensed religious homes for children.

Kelley Benham French, who studied at Poynter as a high-school student and now serves as an adjunct faculty member, caught the attention of Pulitzer jurors with a stunning personal narrative of the survival of her daughter Juniper, born prematurely at only 23 weeks, at a weight of one pound, one ounce.

All three projects share a concern with the health and well-being of children, which should be part of the raison d’être of any news organization.

Newspaper owners deserve to celebrate Pulitzer achievements, even when those honors are earned in spite of the cost-cutting efforts of the bean counters who run media companies.

We have bean counters at the Poynter Institute and the Tampa Bay Times, too, and I wish we could find more beans, or maybe plant some magic ones, grow a beanstalk and steal a giant’s gold. The decrease in profitability at the Times since 2008 has meant a serious loss of revenue for Poynter.

To change the metaphor, all boats sink on a low tide, and both Poynter and its paper have seen resources shrink in the swamp of Florida’s deep recession. Millions of dollars in yearly stock dividends have disappeared, forcing Poynter to look for new revenue resources and to be more inventive in executing its mission. And so we have.

In hard times, a normal owner would squeeze the newspaper for more profits, which means cutting costs to the bone marrow. Cut staff, cut newshole, cut sections, cut bureaus, cut the size of the paper – and now, for companies such as Newhouse, cut the number of days you publish a print version. Cut, cut, cut.

There comes a tipping point at such companies, of course, a time when the news resources have been cut so severely that the paper can no longer commit serious journalism in the public interest. The product becomes less compelling. It attracts fewer readers. Losses cycle down.

That has not happened at the Tampa Bay Times, and this year’s Pulitzer recognition proves that something is different here. In spite of economic problems that continue to plague all of us, we can say with confidence that Nelson Poynter’s visionary and ingenious plan is still working.

That plan, which went into effect upon his death in 1978, did not envision what kind of school the Poynter Institute would become. Nor could it have predicted the disruptive technologies of the 21st century. But it did have certain enduring benefits, and they flowed from Nelson Poynter’s decision to give his newspaper away to a school he established.

This is what the estate lawyers describe as Mr. Poynter’s testamentary intent:

* That the stock of his company would not scatter across generations among family members he did not know and might not even have liked.

* As a result, those family members could not cash out by selling their stock, as was the case with the owners of the Louisville Courier-Journal, to chains such as Gannett.

* As a result, his newspaper would remain locally owned and privately held, run by top journalists committed to the specific community served by their paper.

* As a result, those trusted leaders could offer their primary loyalties not to shareholders or advertisers, but to readers.

The entire Poynter project was predicated on trust. Trust in democracy and self-government. Trust in the continuing value of journalism to that enterprise. And trust in people. Nelson Poynter trusted Eugene Patterson to run the show, who trusted Andy Barnes, who trusted Paul Tash, who as CEO must adapt a once highly profitable business to the tumultuous changes that continue to shake the news media world.

But, for today, Tash – a member of the Pulitzer Board – can share the spotlight with the winners and finalists, with the entire staff that gathered in the newsroom at 3:00 pm to hear the official announcements and with all of us at the Poynter Institute who continue to outperform our resources. In doing so, we want to maintain our status not just as an influential school but as a newspaper owner that all who care about journalism can take pride in. Read more


Tampa Bay Times wins Pulitzer, reacts to announcement

Poynter’s Tampa Bay Times has won a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing and is a finalist in two other categories.

The Times’ Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth won for their editorials on Pinellas County’s decision to fluoridate residents’ water won. Kelley Benham was a feature writing finalist for her three-part series on her daughter’s premature birth, and Alex Zayas’ “In God’s Name” series earned her a finalist spot for feature writing, as well as the Selden Ring Award earlier this year.

“Today, obviously, we celebrate journalism that makes a difference, and we celebrate the Tampa Bay Times,” Editor Neil Brown told the newsroom. “We get to do it together, and with some teachers among us.” Read more

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Pulitzer Prizes 2013: Winners announced

Columbia University named its 2013 Pulitzer Prize winners Monday. Roy J. Harris Jr. wrote about what to watch for before the prizes, and Roy Peter Clark wrote about the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times’ win.

Public Service

Breaking News Reporting

Investigative Reporting

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Listen live to Pulitzers announcement

If you’ve tried to follow the Pulitzer announcements by Twitter in the past, you know it’s like trying to drink from a firehose. Columbia University will broadcast the audio of the announcement starting at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Host Sree Sreenivasan tells Poynter he’s especially interested in getting winning newsrooms to call in after 3:10 p.m. (The awards are announced at 3 p.m.)

Sreenivasan would like to hear “hollering and such” in the background of calls, so buy your interns some thundersticks. He’s also in the market for guests; email him or blogtalkradio’s Chitra Agrawal three to five minutes before you’re ready to go on air, he says. The call-in number is 646-915-9583.

Related: Winners to watch for when the Pulitzers are announced today Read more