Globe wins Pulitzer gold medal for coverage of clergy sex abuse

The Boston Globe, Apr. 8, 2003
By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff

The Boston Globe has won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service for its coverage of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, it was announced yesterday.

The Pulitzer board cited the Globe’s ”courageous, comprehensive coverage,” which ”pierced secrecy, stirred local, national, and international reaction, and produced changes” in the church.

”We’re thrilled to be given this recognition, which is the highest distinction a newspaper can receive,” said the Globe’s publisher, Richard Gilman. ”The award validates our belief that the Globe’s work on this story, and stories like it, is the ultimate public service that we can provide to the community.”

”I’m really proud of what the paper has been able to accomplish,” said the Globe’s editor, Martin Baron. ”There was just a real determination to tell the whole truth, not just a piece of it, not just a slice.”

Speaking before a packed newsroom, Baron said: ”You made history this past year. And you made the world a better and safer, and more humane place.”

Starting in January 2002 with a Globe Spotlight series, Globe reporters revealed a widespread pattern of sexual abuse by priests that was covered up by the Archdiocese of Boston. The scandal culminated with the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law in December.

The Pulitzers, journalism’s most distinguished prizes, and which also honor achievements in letters and music, are administered by Columbia University. This year there were two other local winners:

The staff of The Eagle-Tribune won in the breaking news category for its coverage of the drowning last December of four Lawrence boys in the Merrimack River. ”We’re all absolutely elated,” the Eagle-Tribune’s editor, William Ketter, said in a telephone interview. The Pulitzer is ”the holy grail of journalism, the highest honor you can get.”

Samantha Power, executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, won in general nonfiction for ”A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.” ”I’m sort of in shock,” Power said in a telephone interview. ”I just hope the larger lessons of this book, about US foreign policy, don’t get lost in the shuffle.”

The big winners in journalism yesterday were The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Each took three prizes.

Post reporters Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan won for their investigation of the Mexican criminal justice system. Film critic Stephen Hunter won for criticism. And in the commentary category, a Post columnist, Colbert I. King, won, as the award citation put it, for ”against-the-grain columns that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom.”

Los Angeles Times winners were Alan Miller and Kevin Sack in the national reporting category for their study of a faulty military aircraft. Sonia Nazario won in feature writing for her examination of a young Honduran’s search for his mother in the United States. And Don Bartletti won in feature photography for his work on undocumented Central American youths trying to reach the United States.

The New York Times, which took a record seven prizes last year, won a single Pulitzer, in the category of investigative reporting. Honored was a series by Clifford J. Levy on the abuse of mentally ill adults in state-regulated homes.

The Wall Street Journal won in the explanatory reporting category for stories that, in the words of the citation, ”illuminated the roots, significance, and impact of corporate scandals in America.”

Diana K. Sugg of The Sun of Baltimore won in beat reporting for her stories about medical issues, as refracted through the lives of individual patients.

The winner for editorial writing was Cornelia Grumman of the Chicago Tribune for editorials on the death penalty.

David Horsey of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer won for editorial cartooning. And The Rocky Mountain News won in the breaking news photography category for its coverage of the forest fires last summer in Colorado.

In literature, winners included Jeffrey Eugenides, in fiction, for his novel ”Middlesex,” which describes eight decades in the life of a Greek-American family as seen through the eyes of the novel’s hermaphrodite narrator.

Robert A. Caro won in the biography category for ”Master of the Senate,” the third volume in his ”The Years of Lyndon Johnson.” Caro won the 1975 Biography award for ”The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.”

”It feels remarkably the same,” Caro said in a telephone interview. ”I’m really happy,” he added with a laugh.

In the history category, the winner was Washington Post assistant managing editor for investigations Rick Atkinson, for ”An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-43.” Atkinson won a Pulitzer for national reporting in 1982.

Nilo Cruz, who teaches at Yale University, won in the drama category for ”Anna in the Tropics,” about cigar makers in Florida in 1930.

In poetry, the winner was Paul Muldoon, for ”Moy Sand and Gravel.” Muldoon, a native of Northern Ireland, directs the creative writing program at Princeton.

John Adams won in music for his composition ”On the Transmigration of Souls.” The work was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as a tribute to victims, survivors, and heroes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

All citations, except for that of meritorious public service, carry a prize of $7,500. The meritorious service winner receives a gold medal.

All categories have three finalists. Runners-up in each category follow:

Public service: The Detroit News, stories on the criminal justice system; The Pensacola News Journal, corruption in Escambia County, Fla.

Breaking news: The Sun of Baltimore, coverage of sniper killings; The Seattle Times, local connections to the alleged snipers.

Investigative reporting: Alan Miller and Kevin Sack, the Los Angeles Times (moved to the national reporting category, which they won); The Seattle Times, the making of a terrorist.

Explanatory reporting: Jim Haner, John B. O’Donnell, and Kimberly A. C. Wilson, The Sun of Baltimore, low conviction rate in local murder cases; and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, chronic disease among deer.

Beat reporting: Cameron W. Barr, The Christian Science Monitor, Israeli-Palestinian coverage; David Cay Johnston, The New York Times, US tax laws.

National reporting: the Chicago Tribune, the fall of Arthur Andersen; Anne Hull, The Washington Post, young immigrants in the US South; The New York Times, corruption in corporate America.

International reporting: Alix M. Freedman and Steve Stecklow, The Wall Street Journal, how Saddam Hussein profited from sanctions; R. E. Longworth, the Chicago Tribune, US-European tensions.

Feature writing: Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, profile of a wrongfully convicted man; David Stabler, The Oregonian (Portland), profile of a musical prodigy.

Commentary: Edward Achorn, The Providence Journal; Mark Holmberg, the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Criticism: John King, the San Francisco Chronicle, architecture and urban design; Nicolai Ouroussoff, the Los Angeles Times, architecture.

Editorial writing: Robert L. Pollock, The Wall Street Journal, editorials on the Food and Drug Administration; Linda Valdez, The Arizona Republic, editorials on immigration.

Editorial cartooning: Rex Babin, The Sacramento Bee; Clay Bennett, The Christian Science Monitor.

Breaking news photography: Carolyn Cole, the Los Angeles Times, siege in Bethlehem; The Washington Times, sniper coverage.

Feature photography: Matt Black, the Los Angeles Times, the legacy of black sharecroppers in California; Brad Clift, The Hartford Courant, heroin addiction.

Fiction: Andrea Barrett, ”Servants of the Map: Stories”; Adam Haslett, ”You Are Not a Stranger.”

Drama: Edward Albee, ”The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?”; Richard Greenberg, ”Take Me Out.”

History: Philip Dray, ”At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America”; Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, ”Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America.”

Biography: Nicholas Dawidoff, ”The Fly Swatter”; Lewis Lockwood, ”Beethoven: The Music and the Life.”

Poetry: Frank Bidart, ”Music Like Dirt”; J. D. McClatchy, ”Hazmat.”

General Nonfiction: Ellen Meloy, ”The Anthropology of Turquoise: Mediations on Landscape, Art, and Spirit”; Steven Pinker, ”The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.”

Music: Steve Reich, ”Three Tales”; Paul Schoenfield, ”Camp Songs.”


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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday April 8, 2003.
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