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2012 Pulitzer Prizes announced in New York

The 96th annual Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday in New York's Columbia University with the Philadelphia Inquirer receiving the coveted public service Pulitzer.

Online news website wins its first Pulitzer prize

Arianna Huffington's self-declared "Internet newspaper" has badly desired journalistic credibility to match its robust traffic, and nothing lends more respect in media than a Pulitzer.

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Unable to choose a fiction winner, Pulitzer Prize officials made a decision guaranteed to satisfy no one. They passed.


The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American (Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer in the year 1917 and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. Each winner receives a certificate and a US$10,000 cash award.

Full list of 2012 winners

Journalism catetory Jury's words Winner Tone of report Media organization
Public Service


Awarded to The Philadelphia Inquirer for its exploration of pervasive violence in the city’s schools, using powerful print narratives and videos to illuminate crimes committed by children against children and to stir reforms to improve safety for teachers and students.


The Philadelphia Inquirer   Positive The Philadelphia Inquirer
Breaking News Reporting 


Awarded to The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News Staff, for its enterprising coverage of a deadly tornado, using social media as well as traditional reporting to provide real-time updates, help locate missing people and produce in-depth print accounts even after power disruption forced the paper to publish at another plant 50 miles away.


The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News Staff Positive The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) 
Investigative Reporting 


Awarded to Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrongof The Seattle Times for their investigation of how a little known governmental body in Washington State moved vulnerable patients from safer pain-control medication to methadone, a cheaper but more dangerous drug, coverage that prompted statewide health warnings.


Awarded to Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of the Associated Press for their spotlighting of the New York Police Department’s clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities, resulting in congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering.


Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley 


Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong 

Negative Associated press, The Seattle Times
Explanatory Reporting 


Awarded to David Kocieniewski of The New York Times for his lucid series that penetrated a legal thicket to explain how the nation’s wealthiest citizens and corporations often exploited loopholes and avoided taxes. 


David Kocieniewski Negative The New York Times
Local Reporting 


Awarded to Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Penn., for courageously revealing and adeptly covering the explosive Penn State sex scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky.


Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff Negative The Patriot-News
National Reporting 


Awarded to David Wood of The Huffington Post for his riveting exploration of the physical and emotional challenges facing American soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan during a decade of war.


David Wood Neutral The Huffington Post
International Reporting 


Awarded to Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times for his vivid reports, often at personal peril, on famine and conflict in East Africa, a neglected but increasingly strategic part of the world.


Jeffrey Gettleman Neutral The New York Times
Feature Writing 


Awarded to Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle (Wash.) weekly, for his haunting story of a woman who survived a brutal attack that took the life of her partner, using the woman’s brave courtroom testimony and the details of the crime to construct a moving narrative.


Eli Sanders Neutral The Stranger, a Seattle (Wash.) weekly


Awarded to Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune for her wide range of down-to-earth columns that reflect the character and capture the culture of her famed city.


Mary Schmich  Neutral  The Chicago Tribune


Awarded to Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe for his smart, inventive film criticism, distinguished by pinpoint prose and an easy traverse between the art house and the big-screen box office.


Wesley Morris Neutral The Boston Globe
Editorial Writing 
No winner

Editorial Cartooning 


Awarded to Matt Wuerker of POLITICO for his consistently fresh, funny cartoons, especially memorable for lampooning the partisan conflict that engulfed Washington.


Matt Wuerker Neutral  POLITICO
Breaking News Photography 


Awarded to Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse for his heartbreaking image of a girl crying in fear after a suicide bomber’s attack at a crowded shrine in Kabul.


Massoud Hossaini Negative Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Feature Photography 


Awarded to Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post, for his compassionate chronicle of an honorably discharged veteran, home from Iraq and struggling with a severe case of post-traumatic stress, images that enable viewers to better grasp a national issue.


Craig F. Walker  Neutral The Denver Post

Pulitzer Prize for feature photography

  • 2012 Pulitzer feature photography picture

    2012 Pulitzer feature photography picture
    This picture shows an honorably discharged veteran, home from Iraq and struggling with a severe case of post-traumatic stress.
  • 2012 Pulitzer feature photography picture

    2012 Pulitzer feature photography picture
    This picture shows an honorably discharged veteran, home from Iraq and struggling with a severe case of post-traumatic stress.

The Story of Scott Ostrom: Selected from Denver Post

After serving four years as a reconnaissance man and deploying twice to Iraq, Brian Scott Ostrom, now 27, returned home to the U.S. with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. “The most important part of my life already happened. The most devastating. The chance to come home in a box. Nothing is ever going to compare to what I’ve done, so I’m struggling to be at peace with that,” Scott said. “It was the most brutal time of my life,” he said. “I didn’t realize it because I was living it. It was a part of me.” Since his discharge, Scott has struggled with daily life, from finding and keeping employment to maintaining healthy relationships. But most of all, he’s struggled to overcome his brutal and haunting memories of Iraq. Nearly five years later, Scott remains conflicted by the war. Though he is proud of his service and cares greatly for his fellow Marines, he still carries guilt for things he did — and didn’t do — fighting a war he no longer believes in.


What coverage merits a Pulitzer?

Wonderful story.
Unbiased journalism.
Risky job.