Last year wasn't the greatest for The Washington Post from a reputation standpoint. But winning four Pulitzer Prizes should do a lot to change that.
In its first full year under Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli (pictured, center), the Post dominated print journalism's most prestigious awards, which were announced Monday afternoon. The paper's writers earned citations for international reporting (Anthony Shadid), feature writing (Gene Weingarten), commentary (Kathleen Parker) and criticism (Sarah Kaufman).
The wins place an exclamation point on a year in which Brauchli and his boss, Publisher Katharine Weymouth, were slammed in journalism circles (including here) for agreeing to host an ethically questionable events series and then dissembling about the degree of their involvement. There were other embarrassments as well, including a satirical video series called "Mouthpiece Theater" that had to be killed after eliciting complaints about its content.
A Big Day for Nonprofit Journalism
All that recedes into the distance now that the Post has topped its perennial archrival, The New York Times, in their annual Pultizer-off. The Times garnered two prizes -- Matt Richtel and staff for national reporting and Michael Moss and staff for explanatory reporting -- plus a third, in the investigative reporting category, for a story about a hospital crisis during Hurricane Katrina.
That story, written by Sheri Fink, was actually produced by ProPublica, a nonprofit dedicated to investigative journalism. Another ProPublica story was a finalist in the public service category. Headed by Paul Steiger, who preceded Brauchli as managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica was launched only in 2008. Its quick ascent to journalism's most elite winner's circle is a big boost for those who believe nonprofits can fill much of the vacuum created by the decline of newspapers.
As predicted here, the National Enquirer did not win a Pulitzer for its coverage of John Edwards' infidelity scandal, nor was it a finalist in any category.
The Washington Post Dominates the Pulitzers. The Enquirer Gets Nothing