ACBJ paper named Pulitzer finalist
It’s the first time that an ACBJ paper has been named a finalist for the most prestigious awards in journalism.
“I think every newsroom — not just at ACBJ but anyplace journalists work — has an unwritten goal that it wants to win a Pulitzer,” said Whit Shaw, the company’s CEO. “Being a finalist is a step in that direction. I can assure you everyone at ACBJ knows awards happen and aren’t something you control; you don’t start a series of stories like those Seattle did on Washington Mutual because you want to win prizes. You write the stories because they contain information your readers need to know.”
Staff writers Kirsten Grind and Jeanne Lang Jones and managing editor Alwyn Scott worked on the entry. The Pulitzer judges lauded the paper “for their meticulous examination of the collapse of Washington Mutual, the biggest bank failure in U.S. history, plumbing causes and raising troubling questions about federal regulation.”
“This recognition illustrates the depth of our commitment to local readers,” said Emory Thomas Jr., the publisher of the paper and its former editor. “While others are cutting back, we are investing in the kind of high quality reporting that makes a difference for local business leaders. We’re gratified that the Pulitzer committee has acknowledged this locally important — and nationally significant — work.”
The coverage also won a Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers last month.
In addition, Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune business desk were finalists in the investigative reporting category. The judges noted, “their in-depth reporting and computer analysis that unraveled $10 billion in suspicious Florida real estate transactions, triggering local and state efforts to curb abuses.”
The Sarasota paper’s coverage has also received a National Journalism Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation.
Also, Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian of the Los Angeles Times were finalists in the national reporting category for their Toyota safety coverage. The judges noted, “their tenacious reporting on how design flaws and weak federal oversight contributed to a potentially lethal problem with Toyota vehicles, resulting in corrective steps and a congressional inquiry.”
Meanwhile, Dave Leonhardt, who writes a column for The New York Times business section about the economy, was a finalist in the commentary section. The judges stated he was a finalist “for his illumination of the nation’s most pressing and complex economic concerns, from health care reform to the worst recession in decades.”
See the winners and finalists here.