“I am still surprised at the huge reaction that it got, not just from the government but mainly from readers. People are still calling to say, 'What can they do and how can they make things better?'” - Dana Priest
Congratulations to the Washington Post, who garnered a half dozen Pulitzer Prize awards yesterday, including the Public Service Gold Medal. I’ve been critical of them from time to time, but they are a first-class institution that does tremendous work. I don’t know where I would be every morning without my cup of coffee, the Post and the better half across the table to discuss the issues and news of the day.
By the way, an excellent book on the subject is Pulitzer’s Gold, Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism by Roy J. Harris Jr. It’s a well-written look at some of the news stories that won the Pulitzer, as well as the men and women that reported on and wrote the stories. Harris makes the point that the awards sometimes just name the newspaper and not the writers, editors and team of pavement pounders and researchers. He also weaves in the story of how Pulitzer started the awarding of the prizes and a look at the committee that decides the awards.
Six awards for one newspaper (The New York Times took the most, seven, for 2001) will no doubt raise eyebrows, but it was good to see Priest and Anne Hull receive the highest award for their exposure of the shameful and shoddy treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. Like many of the others that came before it, this reporting uncovered wrong-doing and led to action that improved the situation. For every winner each year, there is other reporting that doesn't get selected but does provide its readers and the country with a great service.