- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2006


Newspapers in Mississippi and New Orleans were awarded Pulitzer Prizes yesterday for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on the Gulf Coast.

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and the Sun Herald of southern Mississippi each won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their coverage, with the Times-Picayune also receiving the Pulitzer in breaking-news reporting for its storm coverage. The two papers managed to keep putting out the news — online, if necessary — despite damage to their buildings and disruption to their staffs.

“We never missed a day of publication, and that’s a testament to everybody in this room,” said Ricky Mathews, president and publisher of the Sun Herald, whose coverage area includes hard-hit Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss. “We will arise from this terrible situation. I think our best journalism is still ahead of us.”

The Times-Picayune newsroom in New Orleans erupted in applause at the news of winning two Pulitzers, but there was no champagne.

“It was a national tragedy,” said Peter Kovacs, managing editor for news. “It would not be appropriate to have champagne because of the nature of the event.”

The Washington Post won four awards in all, followed by the New York Times, with three. The Rocky Mountain News of Denver, like the Times-Picayune, won two.

Susan Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith of the Post received the award for investigative reporting for their stories on the Jack Abramoff scandal. David Finkel of the Post won the prize for explanatory reporting for writing about the U.S. government’s attempt to bring democracy to Yemen. The Post’s Dana Priest was honored in the beat-reporting category for stories on secret prisons and the government’s counterterrorism campaign. Robin Givhan of the Post received the Pulitzer for criticism for her fashion coverage.

The prize for editorial writing went to Rick Attig and Doug Bates of the (Portland) Oregonian. Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution won the editorial-cartooning prize, and the breaking-news photography prize went to the staff of the Dallas Morning News.

Winners of Pulitzer Prizes in the arts were:

Fiction: “March” by Geraldine Brooks.

History: “Polio: An American Story” by David M. Oshinsky.

Biography: “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

Poetry: “Late Wife” by Claudia Emerson.

General nonfiction: “Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya” by Caroline Elkins.

Music/Piano Concerto: “Chiavi in Mano” by Yehudi Wyner.

The Pulitzer committee also awarded special citations to historian Edmund S. Morgan and to the late jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

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