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Behind the Pulitzers: How did they do that?
NEW YORK (AP) - Sometimes the story behind the prize is almost as compelling as the award-winning news itself. Some details on a few of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners.
THE CUB REPORTER
Sara Ganim is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. She’s just 24 years old.
She was not long out of college when, as a crime reporter for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., she began digging into rumors of child sex abuse by Jerry Sandusky, a well-known former Penn State University assistant football coach. She kept at it when she left that paper to join The Patriot-News of Harrisburg in January 2011.
There, besides her coverage of crime and other events, she chipped away at the Sandusky story, lining up critical details and key sourcing that let her publish the first story in March 2011 that Sandusky was being investigated by a grand jury.
As the story grew in importance and size, she said, two moments stuck out for her.
The first came as she learned about allegations that Sandusky had raped a boy in a team shower. The second was in the wake of the grand jury’s report, when longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno was fired.
She and the paper’s editors hadn’t anticipated such fallout.
“We really were so focused on following the facts, and not thinking about what the consequences might be, which I think is actually a good thing because we weren’t distracted and we were able to see the whole picture,” she said.
Its best-known staffer is a sex columnist with a new show on MTV. It’s famous for irreverent, often caustic coverage of Seattle’s entertainment and political scene. Now the alternative weekly The Stranger has another distinction _ a Pulitzer Prize.
Eli Sanders of The Stranger received one of journalism’s highest honors Monday, winning the feature writing award for his harrowing account of a woman who survived a brutal rape. Her partner was killed, and the surviving woman testified about her ordeal in court.
“I was stunned at first,” Sanders said.
The Stranger jokingly bills itself as “Seattle’s only newspaper,” and staffers, led by sex columnist Dan Savage, go out of their way to poke fun at just about everything. But Sanders said it was “cool that a scrappy little alt-weekly in Seattle can produce something that resonates on this level.”
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