The New Yorker becomes first magazine to win a Pulitzer Prize

The New Yorker on Monday became the first magazine to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, taking home awards in both feature writing and criticism categories.

Emily Nussbaum, a TV critic at The New Yorker, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. In its citation, the prizes touted her "television reviews written with an affection that never blunts the shrewdness of her analysis or the easy authority of her writing."

A second award went to Kathryn Schulz, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. Her story, "The Really Big One," examined the Pacific Northwest Cascadia subduction zone and was called a "masterwork of environmental reporting and writing" by the Pulitzer Prizes.

A third Pulitzer, for biography, went to staff writer William Finnegan for "Barbarian Days," his surfing memoir.

In a memo, New Yorker editor David Remnick called the citations "simply astounding" and "and a source of immense pride."

This is a day of celebration at The New Yorker, first and foremost for these writers, who are so deserving. And I know they join me in celebrating, as well, everyone here who has worked with them on their pieces and on this Thing of Ours."

Although The New Yorker is the first standalone magazine to win a Pulitzer, the prizes have recognized work from magazines published by newspapers in the past. Those entries, which came from Sunday magazines like The Miami Herald's Tropic (a winner of three Pulitzers), were judged as newspaper submissions because the Pulitzer board had not yet amended its guidelines to allow magazines.

In 2015, the first year magazines were permitted to win the Pulitzer Prizes, The New Yorker was a two-time finalist for feature writing.

This post has been updated.

Correction: A previous version of this story made reference to "California’s Cascada fault line." In fact, it is called the "Cascadia subduction zone" and runs 700 miles along multiple states throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.

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