By: Jim Rosenberg
At The New York Times since last fall, Anthony Shadid on Monday won a second Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Iraq for The Washington Post.
As in 2004, Shadid won the prize for international reporting, this time “for his rich, beautifully written series on Iraq as the United States departs and its people and leaders struggle to deal with the legacy of war and to shape the nation’s future,” the Pulitzer board stated.
Back from the Baghdad bureau and at his Cambridge, Mass., home when the prizes were announced, Shadid has had several days of anxious waiting: “I just had a baby — my wife delivered on Saturday,” he said.
Comparing his first years in Iraq with the past two, Shadid recalled that in 2003 the war was “one of the most compelling stories, and with comparatively few restrictions and some hard work, he could try to make sense of it all for readers. After being out of Iraq for most of 2006-07, Shadid was back in 2008, finding the situation still “incredibly complicated and … precarious.”
But that situation was changing. “It’s a tougher story to cover today than in ’07,” when it was still largely a matter of combat coverage, he said. “It’s a much more complicated landscape.” As the U.S. military presence diminishes, the question that remains, he said, is “what is this country leaving behind in Iraq?”
In reporting for one newspaper while winning for his work for another, Shadid said the prize is “in some ways a testament” to his mentors at the Post, where that sort of reporting “has the spirit of Don Graham,” the Washington Post Co. CEO.
Barely back long enough to become a father and win a Pulitzer Prize, Shadid already was making plans to return to Baghdad. “I am going back in a few days,” he said, adding that his wife and baby will go no farther than Beirut.