By: Sara Kugler, Associated Press Writer
(AP) The Boston Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for “courageous, comprehensive coverage” in its disclosures of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic church.
The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post each won three of journalism’s most prestigious awards.
The international reporting award went to the Post‘s Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan, a married couple, for stories on Mexico’s criminal justice system. Colbert I. King won for commentary for his columns “that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom.” And Stephen Hunter won the criticism Pulitzer for his “authoritative film criticism that is both intellectually rewarding and a pleasure to read.” The last film critic to win was the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Roger Ebert in 1975.
Alan Miller and Kevin Sack of the Los Angeles Times won the national reporting award for their examination of a military aircraft, the Harrier, linked to the deaths of 45 pilots. The entry was submitted in two categories — national reporting and investigation. It was a finalist for investigation and moved by the Pulitzer board to national reporting.
The feature writing Pulitzer went to the Times‘ Sonia Nazario for a story about a Honduran boy’s search for his mother, who had migrated to the United States. The feature photography prize went to Don Bartletti for his portrayal of undocumented Central American youths traveling north to the United States.
The Globe‘s public service award was its 16th Pulitzer overall and third for that category. In awarding the prize, the Pulitzer board cited the paper’s “courageous, comprehensive coverage of sexual abuse by priests, an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local national and international reaction, and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church.”
“You made history this past year. And you made the world a better and safer, and more humane place,” Globe Editor Martin Baron told a packed newsroom.
For breaking news, the staff of The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., won for stories on the accidental drownings of four boys in the Merrimack River. It was the 60,000-circulation newspaper’s second Pulitzer; it also won in 1988.
Metro Editor Gretchen Putnam was getting ready for the staff Christmas party at her house on Dec. 14 when she received news of the tragedy. She left a note on the door telling editors and reporters to join her in the newsroom.
“I think what set us apart is that we didn’t just report this as a tragedy,” she said. “We told the story of these little boys who were heroes. That was the human element that helped us stand out.”
Clifford J. Levy of The New York Times won the investigative reporting prize for a series on the abuse of mentally ill adults in New York State-regulated homes.
The Wall Street Journal staff won for explanatory reporting for a series of stories on corporate scandals in America. The judges called the work “clear, concise and comprehensive stories” that brought to light “the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America.”
Health reporter Diana K. Sugg of The Sun of Baltimore won for beat reporting for “stories that illuminated complex medical issues through the lives of people.” It was the newspaper’s 15th Pulitzer. Sugg’s entry included a story about the prevalence of stillbirth in seemingly routine pregnancies and a piece that examined what happened when health care workers allowed families into the emergency room during resuscitation efforts for their loved ones.
“As an editor, I live vicariously through my reporters,” said Sugg’s editor, Rebecca Corbett. “Through Diana, I’ve had the great privilege of witnessing some the most intimate, heartbreaking moments of people’s lives.”
Cornelia Grumman of the Chicago Tribune won the editorial prize for editorials against the death penalty.
The editorial cartooning award went to David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for work “executed with a distinctive style and sense of humor.” It was the newspaper’s second Pulitzer; its first was won by Horsey in 1999.
“Just like in ’99, I owed it all to Bill Clinton, so maybe this time it’s all W,” he said, referring to President Bush.
The photography staff of the Rocky Mountain News of Denver won the breaking news photography award for coverage of Colorado’s forest fires.
Janet Reeves, photography director, said many staffers gave up personal time and canceled vacations to cover the wildfires. “They would work tirelessly,” she said. “They just didn’t stop pushing.”
The prizes are awarded by Columbia University on recommendations of the Pulitzer board, which considers nominations from jurors in each category. Each prize is worth $7,500, except for public service, in which a paper receives a gold medal.