The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a special citation Monday to the staff of the Capital Gazette for their work in covering the June attack on their Annapolis offices that killed five employees.
The Capital’s citation was given “for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief.” The award comes with a $100,000 bequest by the Pulitzer Board – the largest amount ever awarded – to be used to further the newspaper’s journalistic mission.
The Capital Gazette staff was also a Pulitzer finalist in the editorial writing category.
In the face of tragedy, the Capital Gazette staffers continued to report on the shooting June 28 that killed Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.
The Pulitzer Prize Board’s special citation for the Capital was an unusual decision, existing outside of the 21 categories across journalism, books, drama and music awarded annually. A special citation was last awarded in 2011 to songwriter Hank Williams. The previous record for a cash award was $15,000, said Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy.
Canedy called the prize money a statement of support for local news, and said she hopes the gesture brings a measure of comfort to the staff and their families.
“It was important to us to make the contribution significant enough to aid the newspaper in continuing to do extraordinary community work,” Canedy said.
Leadership with Baltimore Sun Media, which includes the Capital Gazette, will work with the newspaper’s staff to determine how best to use the funds from the Pulitzer Board, said Tim Knight, CEO of the group’s parent company Tribune Publishing, in an email Monday to employees.
“I ask that we pause and consider the remarkable sacrifice and dedication that our journalists poured into their award-winning work,” Knight said. “That … our teams could deliver such precise, compelling, heartbreaking journalism while their own hearts were breaking demands our awe.”
Capital editor Rick Hutzell called the citation a “great honor,” but one that brought mixed emotions.
Remembering the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting ”
The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a special citation to the staff of the Capital Gazette for their work covering the June attack on their Annapolis newsroom that killed five people.
“We spent the last couple of weeks talking about what this could mean,” Hutzell said of the Pulitzer Board’s consideration. “It’s a recognition of what happened after June 28. The work we’ve done in last eight to nine months speaks volumes about the community of journalism and it speaks worlds about the people in this room.”
Staff believe it is the first Pulitzer that the paper has won.
Staffers gathered in the newsroom for a small event that Hutzell said was not quite a celebration.
“We weren’t sure what to call this today,” he said. “We have some refreshments in the office. We didn’t want to have a celebration, but it feels really good that our peers were nationally recognized.”
I think we were all overcome with excitement, but also the reminder of the worst day of our lives. – …read more
Source:: Daily times