Pulitzer Director: This Year's Winners 'Heartening' Examples of What Newsrooms, Amid Cuts, Can Do

By: Joe Strupp Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes , said this afternoon after releasing the winners of this year's prizes at Columbia University in New York City, "Despite the squeeze on newsroom budgets, the newspaper winners and finalists are heartening examples of high quality journalism from all parts of the country. The watchdog function of journalism was underscored by this year's winners and finalists."

He added, however, that "the war in Iraq has not been as extensively covered in the entries as some might think. That may be due to some of the barriers to coverage there." A team from the Los Angeles Times was a finalist for Iraq coverage this year but did not win.

Gissler also said that the number of newspaper entries this year, 1225, was down from 1324 last year. But he noted, "Online played a significant role in about 15% to 20% of entries overall. It showed up most strongly in public service, breaking news, as well as explanatory and local reporting."

Walt Handelsmann of Newsday won for his editorial cartoons, which included animated entries. The other two finalists also submitted animation.

One winner, from the Birmingham (Ala.) News, was moved out of the public service category as a finalist and shifted to investigative, which it won. "The Birmingham entry was highly regarded by the public service jury but the board felt that the best fit was in investigative," Gisler said.

The 14 journalism winners came out of 13 news organizations and finalists came from 28 different outlets, Gissler pointed out.


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