Pulitzer firsts for websites

2012-04-16 21:45

New York - Agence France-Presse, the online news site Huffington Post and the Washington politics website Politico each won their first Pulitzer Prizes in awards announced on Monday.

The Pulitzers are given out annually by Columbia University on the recommendation of a board of journalists and others. Each award carries a $10,000 prize except for the public service award, which is a gold medal.

The New York Times took away two Pulitzers, considered the most prestigious US journalism awards.

AFP's Massoud Hossaini won the award for breaking news photography "for his heartbreaking image of a girl crying in fear after a suicide bomber's attack at a crowded shrine in Kabul", the committee announced.

The AFP photograph published December 7 shows 12-year-old Tarana Akbari, screaming after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a crowd at the Abul Fazel Shrine in Kabul on December 6.

"When I could stand up, I saw that everybody was around me on the ground, really bloody. I was really, really scared,' said the girl, whose name means "melody".

The Tuscaloosa News of Alabama won the prize for breaking news for its coverage of tornadoes and the resulting carnage in their area.

The public service award went to The Philadelphia Inquirer "for its exploration of pervasive violence in the city's schools," according to the Pulitzer committee, whose awards are made by the president of Columbia University on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize board.

The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, won for local reporting for breaking the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that eventually brought down legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

A second Pulitzer for investigative reporting went to The Seattle Times for a series about accidental methadone overdoses among patients with chronic pain.

The New York Times won two Pulitzers, for explanatory and international reporting.

The Huffington Post received its first Pulitzer, in national reporting, for its exploration of the challenges facing American veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The judges declined to award a prize for editorial writing. Last year, they passed on giving out any breaking news prize.

The Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for documenting the New York Police Department's  surveillance programme to monitor Muslim neighbourhoods, businesses and houses of worship.

The articles showed that police systemically listened in on sermons, infiltrated colleges and photographed law-abiding residents as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks. Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism.

The series, which began in August, was by Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley. The stories prompted protests, a demand from 34 members of Congress for a federal investigation, and an internal inquiry by the CIA's inspector general.

The 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners:


Public service: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Breaking news reporting: The Tuscaloosa (Ala) News staff

Investigative reporting: Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press, and Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times

Explanatory reporting: David Kocieniewski of The New York Times

Local reporting: Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Pa.

National reporting: David Wood of The Huffington Post

International reporting: Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times

Feature writing: Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly

Commentary: Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune

Criticism: Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe

Editorial writing: No award

Editorial cartooning: Matt Wuerker of Politico

Breaking news photography: Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse

Feature photography: Craig F Walker of The Denver Post


Fiction: No award

Drama: Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes

History: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by the late Manning Marable (Viking)

Biography: George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press)

Poetry: Life on Mars by Tracy K Smith (Graywolf Press)

General non-fiction: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (WW Norton and Co)

Music: Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts by Kevin Puts, commissioned and premièred by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on November 12 2011