In New York Monday, The Washington Post won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for a series investigating Mexico's criminal justice system. The Pulitzer prize Committee says Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan "exposed horrific conditions" in Mexico's criminal justice system, and detailed how those conditions affect citizens' daily lives.
Pulitzer Prize Administrator Sig Gissler says the risk-taking involved in the reporters' work exemplifies the kind of dedication that produces award-winning coverage. "It was clear from the stories and the nomination letters that they had to undertake some very risky reporting at times," says Mr. Gissler. "Going into some remote areas. Areas where they could be physically at risk. This was courageous reporting as well as extensive reporting."
Another story focusing on Latin America won the Feature Writing Award In "Enrique's Journey," Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario documented a Honduran boy's search for his mother who had migrated to the United States.
The Los Angeles Times also won the National Reporting award for Alan Miller's and Kevin Sack's examination of a military aircraft, nicknamed "The Widow Maker," that was linked to the deaths of 45 pilots.
Mr. Gissler says stories like these prove that the news media is still "doing its job." "It's important to remember, when the news media is being so often criticized, that several of these [winners] were very important investigations into corruption or malfeasance, and you really saw the watchdog function of the news media in action," he says.
The award for Explanatory Reporting went to the staff of the New York-based Wall Street Journal for its in-depth coverage of the corporate scandals that have rocked the United States over the past year. The Boston Globe won the public service award for covering the sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.
The Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting went to Clifford J. Levy of The New York Times for his "Broken Homes" series, exposing the abuse of mentally ill adults in state-regulated homes.
Mr. Gissler says Mr. Levy's win is exceptional. "Quite often, in recent years, investigative awards have gone to teams of reporters," he says. "And I think the board was particularly pleased to give the award to a good old fashioned, solo reporter who just kept digging and digging."
The Pulitzer Prize, administered by the Columbia University School of Journalism, also gives awards in the arts. Author Robert A. Caro won for the second volume of his comprehensive biography of President Lyndon B. Johnson, called "Master of the Senate". The General Nonfiction Award went to " 'A Problem From Hell:' America and the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Power.
Avant-garde composer John Adams received the Music Award for his composition, "On the Transmigration of Souls."