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Investigative Reporting, Coverage of Katrina Earn Pulitzer Prizes

I'm Steve Ember with IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

This week, Columbia University in New York announced the winners this year of the Pulitzers. The Pulitzer Prize in Journalism is the top honor for American newspapers.

The Washington Post won four awards. Susan Schmidt, James Grimaldi and Jeffrey Smith received the investigative reporting award. They reported on wrongdoing in Congress involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

David Finkel won the explanatory reporting prize for stories on United States efforts to bring democracy to Yemen.

Dana Priest won the beat reporting prize. She reported on secret prisons and other parts of the government’s anti-terrorism campaign.

And Robin Givhan received the criticism award for turning commentary about fashion into critical observations of society.

The New York Times won three Pulitzers. Nicholas Kristof received the commentary award for writing about the violence in Darfur, Sudan. Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley won the international reporting award for stories about the changing legal system in China.

And James Risen and Eric Lichtblau received a national reporting award. They reported that the government in its war on terrorism was listening to the calls of some Americans. An award also went to the San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service. Their stories led to prison for a dishonest congressman.

The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado, won two Pulitzers. Jim Sheeler won the feature writing award for a story about a Marine who helps families of those killed in Iraq. And Todd Heisler won the feature photography award for pictures of the funerals of local Marines killed in Iraq.

The Pulitzer for breaking news photography went to the Dallas Morning News for the effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Reporting on Katrina earned public service awards for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Times-Picayune also won the Pulitzer for breaking news reporting.

And the Pulitzer for editorial writing went to Rick Attig and Doug Bates of the Oregonian for describing conditions at a state mental hospital.

This was the ninetieth year of the Pulitzers. Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer left money to Columbia University to establish them. There are also prizes in letters, drama and music.

Winners receive a medal and most get ten thousand dollars. The award ceremony is May twenty-second.

And Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will take home his second Pulitzer for editorial cartooning. The judging committee praised his drawings as powerful yet simple.

For example, one last year marked the deaths of two thousand American soldiers in Iraq. Their names formed the word "WHY" followed by a question mark.

To learn more about political cartoons and other kinds that Americans like, listen for THIS IS AMERICA Monday at this same hour.

IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Steve Ember.