July 12, 2017

Dana Canedy never wanted to win a Pulitzer Prize.

“I just wanted to do really good work, groundbreaking journalism that makes a difference.”

Now Canedy, who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for The New York Times in 2001, is overseeing the prizes themselves as the Pulitzer’s newest administrator.

On Wednesday as news broke that she’d be filling the role soon to be vacated by Mike Pride, Canedy sat with her predecessor at a French restaurant in New York for lunch. They talked about nuts and bolts of the work, the logistics, but also the importance of the role, “particularly now, at this time when American journalism is seemingly under siege.”

Dana Canedy will be the new administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. (Submitted photo)

Dana Canedy will be the new administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. (Submitted photo)

Canedy, who previously worked as a senior editor at the Times, is also the author of “A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor,” a memoir about her partner who was killed in the first Iraq war in 2006.

Canedy is the first woman, the first person of color and the youngest to serve in the role of Pulitzer administrator.

“I think you’re going to see the evolution of the prizes continue, just as the industry evolves,” she said.

Changes to the prizes include better reflecting digital journalism and a widening pool of potential winners that goes beyond traditional newspapers.

She can’t yet say what that’s going to look like, but she expects more changes to categories and eligibility requirements. Canedy is mindful that the Pulitzers are a storied brand and predicts changes will be conservative. But, she told the Pulitzer board as they searched for the next administrator, “in choosing me, you’ll get somebody who’s going to push you in new ways.”

And while she didn’t aim for a Pulitzer as a reporter, she does have at least one expectation about what the work of the Pulitzer administrator will be like.

“I’m looking forward to reading a lot of good journalism over the next year.”

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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