Congratulations are in order to a number of newspapers which won the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes. The awards were announced Monday.
One of the big winners was The Times-Picayune of New Orleans for its excellent coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Honoring the newspaper for its incredible work, coming at a time while employees’ homes were being destroyed, seems like a no-brainer, right? But the newspaper was not on the list of finalists for the coveted Public Service category.
In a move rare in Pulitzer history, though, the Pulitzer board overruled the editors’ picks and instead honored the New Orleans newspaper and Sun Herald of Biloxi, Mississippi. Both were praised for their coverage of the hurricane and its aftermath. This is only the fifth time in history that the board has overruled the editors’ picks, Pulitzer Administrator Sid Gisler told Editor & Publisher. This suprise move last happened in 1990.
The editor, Jim Amoss, was previously named editor of the year by Editor & Publisher. In the newspaper’s article about winning the awards, Amos thanked the online staff for working around the clock. The newspaper had to halt publication after Katrina hit but it continued publishing new stories online. During that time the number of Web hits increased from 800,000 to 30 million a day.
In another break with tradition, the Pulitzers allowed entries to include an online component. About 130 of the 1,324 entries had an online portion, including the New Orleans newspapers’ entries. The Washington Post won four awards, the most it has won in a single year. The New York Times won three.
Among the winners:
- INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Susan Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith of The Washington Post for their coverage of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff
- EXPLANATORY REPORTING: David Finkel of The Washington Post for coverage of Yemen
- BEAT REPORTING: Dana Priest of The Washington Post for her reports on the secret prisons and other parts of the nation’s counterterrorism campaign
- NATIONAL REPORTING: James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times for their story on domestic eavesdropping
- COMMENTARY: Nicholas D. Kristof of The New York Times for his columns on the genocide in Darfur
- CRITICISM: Robin Givhan of The Washington Post for what the Pulitzer site called “her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism”
A full list of the winners can be found at the Pulitzer web site.