News / USA

For 98th Year, American Journalism’s Best Lauded with Pulitzers

Pulitzer prize administrator Sig Gissler announces the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners at Columbia University in New York, April 14, 2014.
Pulitzer prize administrator Sig Gissler announces the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners at Columbia University in New York, April 14, 2014.
Adam Phillips
The winners of the 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday by Columbia University in New York City. A Pulitzer, as it is known, is the most prestigious award in American journalism.
 
An atmosphere of excitement and collegiality prevailed in the wood-paneled conference room, filled with journalists, where Sig Gissler, the administrator and public face of the Pulitzer Prize Board, announced this year’s honorees.
  
In an unusual step, two news organizations, The Washington Post and Guardian US, the American version of Britain's Guardian newspaper, were separately honored with the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Public Service this year. Each was cited for their coverage of the controversy involving surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency and for promoting public debate about it. Gissler spoke at length about the “watchdog function” of journalism, which strives to hold public institutions and private corporations accountable.
 
“Other stories deal with the denial of black lung benefits to miners - that was the Center for Public Integrity - and housing abuses among the homeless that the Tampa Bay Times spotlighted [and] mistreatment of the wounded Army veterans, which was the focus of the Colorado Gazette’s stories,” said Gissler.
 
In 2009, the Pulitzer Board broke with its longstanding reliance on traditional newspaper journalism and began to include prizes for digital and multimedia reporting.
 
“We’ve done a lot to try to encourage a full range of multimedia material - videos, slide shows, interactive graphics, things like that. These are of increasing importance throughout the competition. In fact, seven of our winning entries in pubic service, breaking news reporting, investigative, national reporting, breaking news photography and feature photography, all are cases where digital content played a major role,” said Gissler.
 
Still, Gissler acknowledged what most of the journalists in the room already knew: these can be challenging times to practice their craft.
  
“… But I think the winners and the finalists all provide heartening examples of the high quality journalism you can find across the country. In fact, when the jurors come to this room for three days of judging every year, they leave inspired and rededicated. My favorite quote was from one juror who, after reading the entries, said ‘this is food for the soul,’” said Gissler.
 
There are Pulitzer Prize categories for best feature photography, best commentary, best editorial, best editorial cartoon and best criticism. There also are Pulitzers awarded for music, poetry, drama, biography, history and fiction - won this year by Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch.
 
Gissler told VOA the Pulitzer puts journalism and the other arts on an equal footing.
   
"That’s one of the wonderful distinctions of the Pulitzer Prizes, because when you win as a journalist you are also in the company of great authors and great composers. And when you win a Pulitzer Prize you really enter the aristocracy of American excellence,” said Gissler.
 
This year’s Pulitzer Prize winners and their guests will be honored at a special awards luncheon to be hosted at Columbia University late next month.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs