The 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced on Monday. There were some unexpected surprises as in all award schemes. The Pulitzer Prize Board that administers the journalism awards, based at Columbia University did not give awards in the editorial writing category; and for the first time since 1977, the prize for fiction was also withheld.
The New York Times were the biggest winners with two Pulitzer Prizes. David Kocieniewski’s series, on how the wealthy exploit tax loopholes was awarded a prize for explanatory reporting. His work had already been acknowledged by several groups such as the Tax Foundation and Wealth for the Common Good. New York Times’ East African correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman meanwhile won in the International Reporting category. The awards board credited his reports on famine and conflict in East Africa as “highlighting a neglected but strategic region.”
Another major news outlet among the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners is The Associated Press. They were awarded the prize for Investigative Reporting. Their team of four journalists scooped the award by writing about a spying program carried out by the New York Police Department. The piece had already resulted in various debates in congress and in public.
The second Investigative Reporting award was given to Micheal Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times. They exposed how a Washington State authority had transferred patients with chronic pain to methadone without heeding to its risks. Some of these casualties ended up losing their life insurance. Their report documented that 2,100 fatalities had occurred since 2003 due to overdose on methadone.
The breaking news award for photography was given to Massoud Hossaini of AFP for his moving image of a girl crying on a pile of corpses after a suicide bomb attack in Kabul on December 6th 2011. The award for Feature Photography was won by Craig Walker from the Denver Post. His work also had a war theme featuring a Marine Corps man with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, a struggling newspaper was awarded in the public service category for its news items on bullying and violence in schools. Their work was inspired by the racial violence witnessed in South Philadelphia High School in late 2009. Another regional news story that was recognized was Joe Paterno’s story in the Patriot News, PA. This scandal broken by their journalist, Sara Ganim, and ended up captivating the country, was given the award for Local Reporting.
The Pulitzer Prize, now 96 years old, started considering online news sources in 2009. The Huffington Post won for National Reporting for David Wood’s detailing the struggles of war veterans such as physical trauma and drug rehab. Politico cartoonist, Matt Wuerker won for Editorial Cartooning for the online publication.
Art-based awards were given for Drama, Music, Poetry and History. Quiara Hudes’ whose play “Water by the Spoonful” won the award for drama, had already won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008 when it was written as a book for a Broadway show. Kevin Puts, debuting in opera after a career in orchestra had his “Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts” winning in the Music category. The poetry award went to Tracy K. Smith for “Life on Mars” while Malcolm Marable took the history gong with “Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention”.
Written works amongst the 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners were “George F. Kennan: An American Life” a biography by John Lewis Gaddis that took 30 years to publish. It was commissioned in 1980 but could only be published after the subject had died. Stephen Greenblatt won the General Nonfiction category for his book “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern”.
List of 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners
1. Investigative reporting: Associated Press and Seattle Times
2. Explanatory Reporting: New York Times
3. Breaking News Reporting: The Tuscaloosa
4. Public Service: Philadelphia Inquirer
5. National Reporting: Huffington Post
6. Local Reporting: The Patriot-News
7. International Reporting: New York Times
8. Feature Writing: The Stranger
9. Editorial Cartooning: Politico
10. Criticism: The Boston Globe
11. Commentary: The Chicago Tribune
12. Breaking News Photography: AFP
13. Feature Photography: The Denver Post
14. Drama: “Water by the Spoonful” (Quaira Hudes)
15. Histroy: “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” by Manning Marable
16. Biography: “George F. Kennan: An American Life” by John Lewis Gaddis
17. Poetry: “Life on Mars” (Tracy K. Smith)
18. General Nonfiction: “The Swerve: how the World Became Modern” (Stephene Greenblatt)
19. Music: “Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts” (Kevin Puts)
Photo credit : AP / Mark Lennihan