Behind the Pulitzers: How did they do that?

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Sanders won for coverage of the murder trial of a man accused of raping and stabbing a lesbian couple in their Seattle home in 2009, killing one of them.

“It’s a great, great privilege to work at a paper that will allow someone to hang on to a crime story for so long,” Sanders said. “(It) was a credit to how much time The Stranger was willing to give.”

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WHAT TIMING!

For reporters at The Philadelphia Inquirer, which has been racked with uncertainty in recent weeks amid layoffs and new ownership, the timing of its Pulitzer Prize for public service was not bad.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time, and I think we’re all hoping that it starts a new era for this newspaper and this whole media company,” said Rose Ciotta, project editor for the “Assault on Learning” series.

The project showed how school violence went underreported and shed light on the school system’s lackluster response to the problem. In response to the newspaper’s reporting, the school system established a new way of reporting serious incidents.

In the past few months, more than three dozen staffers at the Inquirer have been laid off, and a group of local businessmen purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and the website Philly.com from hedge funds for about $55 million _ a fraction of what investors paid for them in 2006.

John Sullivan, who was on the project team but has since left the paper for Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was in the newsroom to celebrate with his former colleagues.

“This just gives us so much joy … because we’ve seen what you guys have gone through the past 10 years, all that we’ve endured and seeing our friends walk out of the building,” he told the newsroom, yet “everybody here just continues to do great journalism.”

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A LITTLE RESPECT

With a Pulitzer Prize in the hands of one of its reporters, the popular yet sometimes-derided Huffington Post is getting some respect.

David Wood’s 10-part series on the struggles of wounded American soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, “Beyond the Battlefield,” won the Pulitzer for national reporting. It’s a first for a reporter from the AOL-owned Internet news site.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, said she believes the award changes the perception of the Huffington Post as an aggregator that draws eyeballs by recycling other outlets’ journalism.

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