After The Pulitzers p. 9

By: Si Liberman 1995 newspaper winners get book contracts, raises, bonuses,
speaking engagements, new job offers and even death threats sp.

AFTER ALL THE champagne toasts and celebratory hoopla, it was back to the trenches for most of last spring's Pulitzer Prize recipients.
For some, it's brought book contracts, new job offers, pay raises, bonuses, speaking engagements, celebrity status, and, in one case, several death threats.
Five of the winners are writing books, seven got raises and/or bonuses, three have new assignments and one has joined a competing newspaper.
However, no winner of any of the 14 journalism Pulitzer Prizes has enjoyed as many honors and experienced the dramatic change in his life as Melvin L. Claxton.
"My life's been like a whirlwind," said the 37-year-old, Antigua-born reporter whose investigative reports of widespread police corruption earned the small Virgin Islands Daily News the most coveted of all journalism Pulitzers, the prize for public service.
"V.I. Crime: Who's to Blame?", the 10-part series of stories he developed and wrote for the Gannett-owned Daily News (circulation 16,400) led to the replacement of the territorial attorney general, arrest of 11 police officers and reprimands for 30 other officers.
It also resulted in his being featured in a segment of Prime Time, the popular ABC-TV news magazine show, nailing down a lucrative book contract and being deluged with job offers and speaking engagements.
Along the way, his series picked up eight other prestigious awards this year, including ones from the American Bar Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors Association, and this fall's Associated Press Managing Editors public service award.
To boot, a series he wrote earlier last year, "Antigua: Corruption Inc.," won this year's Best of Gannett Public Service Award.
Death threats came with his work on both projects ? threats he took seriously enough to move his wife and three children, aged 8 to 11, off the island.
"They're in Georgia," he explained. "I talk to my wife every day between commutes."
He's had about two dozen new job offers.
"Imagine," he said, "One publication offered me more than $100,000 a year, plus a $10,000 contract-signing bonus to head an investigative team. That's three times what I've been making."
He shrugged off identifying the bidder.
"Don't expect me to burn any bridges," he said.
Immediate priorities are to complete a package of stories about crime on Virgin Islands' school campuses, then take a 10-month leave to meet a summer book deadline for the New York publishing house of W.W. Norton, Inc.
The book will be an account of what led up to, and the aftermath, of the 1973 massacre of five white men at the Fountain Valley Golf Course, St. Croix, by five machine gun-toting blacks.
"Because of the Pulitzer, I was able to get the same literary agent as author John Grisham. That's the career direction I want to go ? writing more books. But if this one doesn't go well, I'll probably go back to newspaper work."
Winner of the Public Service Pulitzer Prize receives a gold medal, no cash award. But winners in each of the other journalism categories receive or share in $3,000 cash prizes.
"The paper gave me a bonus, the same as one of those $3,000 awards," Claxton said. "In fact, I've gotten a couple bonuses."
Preceding the bonuses was a congratulatory telephone call from John Curley, chairman of the Gannett Corporation's board of directors. Since then, he's accepted invitations to appear before the Gannett directors and has met with groups of the chain's editors and publishers.
Claxton started with the Daily News as an intern in 1983 while majoring in economics and journalism at the University of the Virgin Islands. After graduating two years later, he became the newspaper's seventh full-time reporter.
Other 1995 Pulitzer winners with book contracts include Leon Dash, 51, Washington Post staff writer who shared the prize with photographer Lucian Perkins for explanatory reporting; St. Petersburg Times editorial writer Jeffrey Goode, 36, who won the editorial writing honor for editorials that inspired a movement to reform Florida probate laws; and Wall Street Journal staffers Ron Suskind, 35, and Tony Horwitz, 37.
Suskind earned the feature writing award for his stories, following some honor students through one of Washington, D.C.'s toughest high schools and beyond. Horwitz won the national reporting prize for reports about low-wage working conditions in America, after actually working in Deep South chicken-processing plants.
Horwitz and Suskind took journalism graduate courses together at Columbia University and were roommates.
Suskind, who was a senior national affairs reporter, has become a page one editor at the Journal.
Mark Fritz, a 39-year-old Associated Press West Africa correspondent who took the international reporting award for stories about last year's wholesale slaughter in Rwanda, was promoted by the AP to a new computer-assisted investigative reporting team in New York. The Poynter Institute recruited him to serve as a visiting faculty member in St. Petersburg, and his alma mater, Wayne State University in Detroit, cited him as an Outstanding Alumni with an arts achievement award.
New York Times staffer Margo Jefferson, 47, who collected the criticism prize for her book reviews, was reassigned to the theater department.
"All I can tell you is that my employer treated me very well," she said.
Commentary winner Jim Dwyer, whose thrice-weekly column appeared in New York Newsday and Long Island Newsday editions, now writes for the New York Daily News, a major competitor. The switch came after the Times Mirror folded New York Newsday.
"I was able to negotiate an amicable settlement of my contract with them and sign one with the News," he said.
"No, I didn't get a raise after winning, but I did get a day off. In the past, you'd get some kind of pay supplement for winning, but they were fighting fiscal problems. And, besides, they paid me very well. I'm not complaining."
Dwyer shared a Pulitzer three years ago with a group of Newsday reporters, for coverage of a major subway crash.
Not much has changed for another two-time Newsday Pulitzer Prize winner, Brian Donovan, 54, who shared the award this year with Stephanie Saul, 41. Their series on police pension abuses earned the investigative reporting prize.
"I didn't get a raise ? not because I didn't ask," Donovan confided. "Winning's a great ego trip, though. You hear from lots of old friends and teachers, get invited to speak to high school and college students and are treated like royalty."
Carol Guzy, 39, knows that feeling. The Washington Post photographer won her second Pulitzer Prize ? and a merit raise ? in the spot news photography category with graphic photos of the crisis in Haiti.
In 1986, she shared the $3,000 prize with the Post photo editor Mitch Ducille for pictures of mudslides in Colombia.
"I'm getting better at saying no to groups that want me to speak," said Mike Luckovich, 35-year-old syndicated Atlanta Constitution cartoonist, who won the prize for his editorial cartoons.
"They gave me a party and matched the cash award," he said.
"A promotion? You can say I now head our one-man editorial cartoon department. Cynthia Tucker, the editorial page editor, washes my car, and I was able to invest all that money wisely, buying lots of gum and candy."
?(AP photo/Hillary Hodge) [Caption]
?(Virgin Islands Daily News reporter Melvin Claxton as he celebrates winning the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Since winning the prize in April, Claxton has made appearances on TV newsmagazines, nailed down a lucrative book contract and been deluged with job offers, including one offering him a "signing bonus" and salary of more than three times what he is currently earning.) [Caption & Photo]
?(Carol Guzy, Washington Post photographer, was given a merit raise after winning her second Pulitzer Prize in 1995-in the spot news photography category with graphic photos of the crisis in Haiti) [Photo]


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