Columbia University Announcees 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The 92nd annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board, were announced today by Columbia University.

The 2008 Pulitzer Prize winners in each category, along with the names of the finalists in the competition, follow:

A. PRIZES IN JOURNALISM
1. PUBLIC SERVICE

For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper through the use of its journalistic resources which, as well as reporting, may include editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics and online material, a gold medal.

Awarded to The Washington Post for the work of Dana Priest, Anne Hull and photographer Michel du Cille in exposing mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital, evoking a national outcry and producing reforms by federal officials.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: The Charlotte Observer for its illuminating examination of the mortgage and housing crisis in the newspaper’s community and state, resulting in federal probes and changes in a major lender’s practices, and Newsday, Long Island, N.Y., for its comprehensive investigation into the hazardous gap between a New York railroad’s trains and its boarding platforms, spotlighting individual injuries and triggering a multi-million-dollar remedy by the railway.

2. BREAKING NEWS REPORTING

For a distinguished example of local reporting of breaking news, presented in print or online or both, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to The Washington Post Staff for its exceptional, multi-faceted coverage of the deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, telling the developing story in print and online.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: The Idaho Statesman Staff for its tenacious coverage of the twists and turns in the scandal involving the state’s senator, Larry Craig, and The New York Times Staff for its swift, penetrating coverage of a fire in the Bronx that killed nine persons, eight of them children.

3. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

For a distinguished example of investigative reporting by an individual or team, presented as a single article or series, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Two Prizes of $10,000 each:

Awarded to Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker of The New York Times for their stories on toxic ingredients in medicine and other everyday products imported from China, leading to crackdowns by American and Chinese officials.

and

Awarded to the Chicago Tribune Staff for its exposure of faulty governmental regulation of toys, car seats and cribs, resulting in the extensive recall of hazardous products and congressional action to tighten supervision.

Also nominated as a finalist in this category were: Miles Moffeit and Susan Greene of The Denver Post for their reports on how destruction of evidence in criminal cases across the nation can free the guilty and convict the innocent, prompting official efforts to correct breakdowns.

4. EXPLANATORY REPORTING

For a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Amy Harmon of The New York Times for her striking examination of the dilemmas and ethical issues that accompany DNA testing, using human stories to sharpen her reports.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Beth Daley of The Boston Globe for her evocative exploration of how global warming affects New Englanders, from ice fishermen to blueberry farmers, and the Staff of the Oregonian, Portland, for its richly illustrated reports on a breakthrough in producing the microprocessors that are a technological cornerstone of modern life.

5. LOCAL REPORTING

For a distinguished example of reporting on significant issues of local concern, demonstrating originality and community expertise, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to David Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for his stories on the skirting of tax laws to pad pensions of county employees, prompting change and possible prosecution of key figures.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Chris Davis, Matthew Doig and Tiffany Lankes of the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald Tribune for their dogged exposure, in print and online, of predatory teachers and the system that protects them, stirring state and national action, and Jeff Pillets, John Brennan and Tim Nostand of The Record, Bergen County, N.J., for their probe of how plans to build a luxury community atop old landfills became entangled in questionable state loans and other allegations of favoritism.

6. NATIONAL REPORTING

For a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Jo Becker and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post for their lucid exploration of Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful yet sometimes disguised influence on national policy.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: The New York Times Staff for its stories about CIA interrogation techniques that critics condemned as torture, stirring debate on the legal and moral limits of American action against terrorism, and Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune for his wide ranging examination of complicated racial issues in America, from the courtroom to the schoolyard.

7. INTERNATIONAL REPORTING

For a distinguished example of reporting on international affairs, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Steve Fainaru of The Washington Post for his heavily reported series on private security contractors in Iraq that operate outside most of the laws governing American forces.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: The New York Times Staff for its valorous and comprehensive coverage of America’s military efforts to reduce sectarian violence in Iraq, and The Wall Street Journal Staff for its in-depth reports on the dismantling of democracy in Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin.

8. FEATURE WRITING

For a distinguished example of feature writing giving prime consideration to quality of writing, originality and concision, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post for his chronicling of a world-class violinist who, as an experiment, played beautiful music in a subway station filled with unheeding commuters.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Thomas Curwen of the Los Angeles Times for his vivid account of a grizzly bear attack and the recovery of the two victims, and Kevin Vaughan of the Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., for his sensitive retelling of a school bus and train collision at a rural crossing in 1961 that killed 20 children.

9. COMMENTARY

For distinguished commentary, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post for his insightful columns that explore the nation’s complex economic ills with masterful clarity.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Regina Brett of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, for her passionate columns on alienated teenagers in a dangerous city neighborhood, and John Kass of the Chicago Tribune for his hard-hitting columns on the abuse of local political power and a lively range of topics in a colorful city.

10. CRITICISM

For distinguished criticism, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe for his penetrating and versatile command of the visual arts, from film and photography to painting.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post for her perceptive movie reviews and essays, reflecting solid research and an easy, engaging style, and Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer for her forceful critiques that illuminate the vital interplay between architecture and the life of her city.

11. EDITORIAL WRITING

For distinguished editorial writing, the test of excellence being clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning, and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceives to be the right direction, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

No Award

Nominated as finalists in this category were: Maureen Downey of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for her compelling editorials on the harsh sentences that teenagers can receive for

consensual sex in Georgia, Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News for his relentless editorials that led to mandating roll-call votes on all statewide legislation in Texas, and The Wisconsin State Journal Staff for its persistent, high-spirited campaign against abuses in the governor’s veto power.

12. EDITORIAL CARTOONING

For a distinguished cartoon or portfolio of cartoons published during the year, characterized by originality, editorial effectiveness, quality of drawing and pictorial effect, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Michael Ramirez of Investor’s Business Daily for his provocative cartoons that rely on originality, humor and detailed artistry.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Tom Batiuk of King Features for a sequence in his cartoon strip “Funky Winkerbean” that portrays a woman’s poignant battle with breast cancer, and Clay Bennett of The Christian Science Monitor for his distinctive cartoons marked by sharp focus and pungent simplicity.

13. BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY

For a distinguished example of breaking news photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs, a sequence or an album, in print or online or both, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Adrees Latif of Reuters for his dramatic photograph of a Japanese videographer, sprawled on the pavement, fatally wounded during a street demonstration in Myanmar.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Mahmud Hams of Agence France-Presse for his picture of a missile, caught in mid-air, as it falls on a target in the Gaza Strip while young Palestinians scramble for safety, and the Los Angeles Times Staff for its powerful and often unpredictable photos that captured wildfires devastating California.

14. FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY

For a distinguished example of feature photography in black and white or color, which may consist of a photograph or photographs, a sequence or an album, in print or in print and online, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Preston Gannaway of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor for her intimate chronicle of a family coping with a parent’s terminal illness.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: David Guttenfelder of the Associated Press for his harrowing portfolio of Vietnamese children afflicted by the toxic legacy of Agent Orange, three decades after the Vietnam War ended, and Mona Reed of The Dallas Morning News for her memorable pictures of disadvantaged Texans hidden amid the state’s economic abundance.

B. LETTERS AND DRAMA PRIZES

1. FICTION

For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz (Riverhead Books).

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Tree of Smoke” by Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and “Shakespeare’s Kitchen” by Lore Segal (The New Press).

2. DRAMA

For a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “August: Osage County” by Tracy Letts.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Yellow Face” by David Henry Hwang, and “Dying City” by Christopher Shinn.

3. HISTORY

For a distinguished book upon the history of the United States, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to “What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848” by Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford University Press).

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power” by Robert Dallek (HarperCollins), and “The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War” by the late David Halberstam (Hyperion).

4. BIOGRAPHY

For a distinguished biography or autobiography by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father” by John Matteson (W.W. Norton).

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein” by Martin Duberman (Alfred A. Knopf), and “The Life of Kingsley Amis” by Zachary Leader (Pantheon).

5. POETRY

For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Two Prizes of $10,000 each:

Awarded to “Time and Materials” by Robert Hass (Ecco/HarperCollins).

and

Awarded to “Failure” by Philip Schultz (Harcourt).

Also nominated as a finalist in this category was: “Messenger: New and Selected Poems, 1976-2006” by Ellen Bryant Voigt (W.W. Norton).

6. GENERAL NONFICTION

For a distinguished and well documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945” by Saul Friedländer (HarperCollins).

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “The Cigarette Century” by Allan Brandt (Basic Books), and “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century” by Alex Ross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

C. PRIZE IN MUSIC

For distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year, ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to “The Little Match Girl Passion” by David Lang, co-commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and The Perth Theater and Concert Hall, and premiered October 25, 2007 in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City (G. Schirmer, Inc.).

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Meanwhile” by Stephen Hartke, premiered November 7, 2007 at the University of Richmond (ELR Music Publishing, Inc.), and “Concerto for Viola” by Roberto Sierra, premiered November 11, 2007 at Barnes Hall, Ithaca, NY (Subito Music Publishing).

SPECIAL CITATION

A Special Citation to Bob Dylan for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.

The Pulitzer Prize Board made its recommendations for the 2008 prizes when it met at Columbia University on April 3 and 4, 2008, and passed them to President Lee C. Bollinger. The Board announced that the awards would be presented at a luncheon on Thursday, May 29 at Columbia University.

Paul Tash, Amanda Bennett, and David M. Kennedy were re-elected to membership on the board.
The members of the Pulitzer Prize Board are: President Bollinger; Danielle Allen, UPS Foundation professor of social science, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton University; Jim Amoss, editor, The New Orleans Times-Picayune; Amanda Bennett, executive editor/enterprise, Bloomberg News; Joann Byrd, former editor of the editorial page, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (co-chair); Kathleen Carroll, senior vice president and executive editor, Associated Press; Thomas L. Friedman, columnist, The New York Times; Paul Gigot, editorial page editor and vice president, The Wall Street Journal; Donald E. Graham, chairman, The Washington Post; Anders Gyllenhaal, executive editor, The Miami Herald; Jay T. Harris, director, The Center for the Study of Journalism and Democracy, University of Southern California; David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan professor of history, Stanford University; Nicholas Lemann, dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University; Ann Marie Lipinski, senior vice president and editor, Chicago Tribune; Gregory L. Moore, editor, The Denver Post; Richard Oppel, editor, Austin American-Statesman; Michael Pride, editor, Concord (N.H.) Monitor (co-chair); Paul Tash, editor, CEO and chairman, St. Petersburg Times; and Sig Gissler, administrator of the Prizes.
In any category in which board members have an interest due to the action of the various nominating juries, those members do not participate in the discussion and voting and leave the room until a decision is reached in the affected category. Similarly, members of nominating juries do not participate in the discussion of or voting on entries in which they have an interest.

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