- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Oregonian won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for editorial writing for work that focused on reforms to the Public Employees Retirement System.

It was also a finalist in the explanatory reporting category for a series by reporter Les Zaitz that revealed the infiltration of Mexican drug cartels in Oregon and other regions of the country.

“The editorials were very straightforward, informative, enlightening and pointed at times, as editorials should be,” Oregonian Media Group president N. Christian Anderson III said.

The Oregon Legislature acted soon after publication of the editorials examining the retirement system and its problematic future. Lawmakers responded by bringing about long-sought changes that included cutting retirement benefits for government workers.

The Pulitzer judges highlighted the “lucid editorials that explain the urgent but complex issue of rising pension costs, notably engaging readers and driving home the link between necessary solutions and their impact on everyday lives.”

It was the third Pulitzer for the Oregonian for editorial writing.

In the explanatory reporting category, judges said the work of Zaitz was done “at personal risk to him and his sources.” Anderson called it “an absolutely phenomenal job of reporting.”

Anderson said the series highlighted the company’s shift to digital emphasis. It was posted online days before it appeared in print, and several online-only interactive elements highlighted the package.

“It demonstrates again that no matter how we deliver the news, we’re going to have high-quality reporting,” Anderson said. “Les’s package had video, it had a lot of interactive elements that obviously you couldn’t reproduce in print.”

The Oregonian has experienced significant changes in the past year. The newspaper announced a shift of its emphasis to digital delivery of news, reduced home delivery to four days a week, and cut staff, following the strategy of other Advance Publication Inc.

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