- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

NEW YORK — The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, won the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for an examination of the deadly toll of domestic violence, while The New York Times collected three awards and the Los Angeles Times two.

The Seattle Times staff took the breaking news award for its coverage of a mudslide that killed 43 people and its exploration of whether the disaster could have been prevented.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both won investigative reporting prizes, the Times for an examination of lobbyists’ influence on state attorneys general, the Journal for a project that showed readers previously confidential information on the Medicare payment system.

The Times’ coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa won Pulitzers for international reporting and feature photography. The Los Angeles Times’ prizes were for feature writing on the effects of California’s drought and for Mary McNamara’s television criticism.

Coverage of one of the biggest U.S. stories of the year - the deadly police shooting of Michael Brown that led to racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri - earned the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a Pulitzer for breaking news photography.

The prizes spanned news outlets large and small: The 70,000-circulation Daily Breeze of Torrance, California, won the local reporting award for exposing corruption in a school district. And Bloomberg News was a first-time winner, taking the explanatory reporting award for an examination of corporate tax dodging.

The Post and Courier explored the deaths of 300 women in the past decade and a legal system in which abusers face at most 30 days in jail if convicted of attacking a woman, while cruelty to a dog can bring up to five years in prison.

The Pulitzer judges called it “a riveting series that probed why South Carolina is among the deadliest states in the union for women and put the issue of what to do about it on the state’s agenda.”

The Seattle Times newsroom erupted in cheers after the award for its mudslide coverage was announced.

“We did what any good newsroom should do when a big story breaks,” Editor Kathy Best told staffers. “We gave people accurate information when rumors and inaccuracies were swirling all over the place. We asked hard questions in the moment. When public officials were saying, ‘Oh, this was unforeseen,’ we showed that it was not unforeseen.”

The Pulitzers, established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer and first given out in 1917, are American journalism’s highest honor. The public service award consists of a gold medal; the other awards carry a prize of $10,000 each.

The Washington Post took the national reporting honor for revealing embarrassing lapses that led to an overhaul of the Secret Service.

The commentary prize went to the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg, who examined the case of a man wrongfully convicted of killing a police officer, among other problems in the legal and immigration systems. Kathleen Kingsbury of The Boston Globe was recognized for editorial writing; she looked at restaurant workers’ low wages and examined the toll of income inequality.

Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News won the editorial cartooning prize for his look at such issues as immigration, gun control and problems in the VA hospital system.

For the first time this year, many online and print magazines were eligible for the journalism awards - in feature writing and investigative reporting only - but none of them won.

While the winners were largely drawn from old-media names, “the digital component of their work is becoming more and more sophisticated,” prize administrator Mike Pride said. “Newspapers know where the future is and, in some cases, are doing really good jobs at it.”

Associated Press writers Deepti Hajela and Jake Pearson in New York, Chris Grygiel in Seattle, and Philip Marcelo in Boston contributed to this report.

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