Reflecting a change in the journalism landscape, a hardscrabble, non-profit online news site with a handful of employees was among this year's Pulitzer Prize winners.
Five year old InsideClimate News
—a non-partisan news organization that covers clean energy, carbon energy, nuclear energy, and environmental science—took home journalism's biggest prize yesterday as it competed head-to-head with news organizations with hundreds of years of experience and thousands of employees.
"It's a watershed moment for our non-profit news organization, a good day for environmental journalism, and a hopeful signal for the future of our profession," said David Sassoon, founder and publisher of InsideClimate News
The award-winning project from reporters Elizabeth McGowan, Lisa Song, and David Hasemyer took top honors in the national reporting category for their work on "The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of
," an investigation into the million-gallon spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. It broadened into an examination of national pipeline safety issues
, and how unprepared the nation is for the impending flood of imports of a more corrosive and more dangerous form of oil.
, based in Brooklyn, has seven full-time employees. The core funders of InsideClimate News are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Marisla Foundation and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. The award for InsideClimate News
marks only the third time a Web-based news organization has taken home a Pulitzer for national reporting. The other two are The Huffington Post
On the opposite end of the spectrum was The New York Times
, which took home four Pulitzers for investigative reporting, explanatory reporting, international reporting, and feature writing. The reporting looked at the questionable actions of companies such as Apple and Walmart overseas, and another about the hidden wealth of the Chinese premier’s family.
Not surprisingly, the Times
was given an award for its multimedia “Snow Fall
” feature on a fatal avalanche in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. The Pulitzer committee said it was “enhanced by its deft integration of multimedia elements.”
The Washington Post
and The Wall Street Journal
took home a prize each, saving themselves from getting completely shutout and overshadowed by the Times
' four prizes. They won for criticism and commentary, respectively. The Journal
has not been awarded a single prize for its reporting since 2007, the year Rupert Murdoch bought the news outlet.
The Denver Post
showed grace by announcing that the $10,000 that came along with its award for breaking news reporting on the Aurora theater shootings would be donated to charity. The Pulitzer committee highlighted how The Post
’s reporting staff used social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and video to “capture a breaking story and provide context.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
took home two Pulitzer Prizes for local reporting and for editorial cartooning. The Sun-Sentinel
in Orlando, Fla., got its first Pulitzer in the coveted public service category for reporting how off-duty police officers were often speeders who endangered the lives of residents. The Tampa Bay Times
, formerly the St. Petersburg Times
, landed the editorial writing award and The Associated Press got the breaking news photography award.
Winning the features photography award was Javier Manzano, a freelancer, for his stunning photo
of two Syrian rebel soldiers tensely guarding their position.
Find a complete list of 2013 Pulitzer Prize winners here
Gil Rudawsky heads the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. He is a former reporter and editor. Read his blog or contact him at email@example.com.