‘Oregonian’ Editor To Chair Pulitzer Prize Board

By: Joe Strupp

Updated at 1:15 p.m. EST

Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of The Oregonian in Portland and an eight-year member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, has been appointed the board’s chair, Columbia University officials who oversee the annual prizes announced Thursday.

Rowe, who has served as The Oregonian‘s editor since 1993, succeeds John S. Carroll, the Los Angeles Times‘ executive vice president and editor, as chair. Carroll will continue to serve on the board.

“The Pulitzer Board is one of the most interesting and challenging processes to participate in,” Rowe told E&P Online. “It is fascinating and very rigorous work.”

Rowe said she had no plans to seek changes to any of the Pulitzer rules or policies, despite ongoing complaints by some journalists that the three finalists in each category — which are not revealed until the final winners are announced — are almost always leaked by judges ahead of time.

“I believe the advantage of keeping [the finalists] confidential outweighs the benefits of making it public,” she said. “There is no sense in doing too much hand-wringing about it.”

Prior to her Portland post, Rowe, 54, spent 22 years at The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star in Norfolk. She served as vice president and executive editor of the combined papers from 1984 to 1993. During her time there, the papers won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for general news reporting.

Under her leadership in Portland, The Oregonian has won three Pulitzer Prizes, taking the 1999 explanatory-reporting award and the 2001 feature-writing and public-service awards.

Rowe is past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and chair of the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation Journalism Advisory Board.

The 2003 Pulitzer Prizes will be announced April 7, and presented May 29.

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