Journalism’s highest honor


The stories of the journalists who wrote the stories of Katrina and Watergate and the Boston pedophile priests, and many more, resulting in journalism’s highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize for public service. If you’re a writer, here are the nuts and bolts exposed. If you’re a supporter of the First Amendment, here’s why it’s necessary. If you never understood what public service means to journalism, here it is, explained (the Katrina story is especially moving). If you were unaware of the perils that can attend such reporting, all you have to do is look at the rattlesnake followers of Syanon stuffed in Paul Morantz’ mailbox, its rattles cut off so it wouldn’t alert Morantz to its presence.

When editor Howard Weaver of the Anchorage Daily News sent reporters out into the Alaskan Bush to investigate the effect of alcohol abuse on village populations he had one instruction for them: If they saw a breaking news story? To walk away. The result was “A People in Peril” and the ADN’s second Pulitzer Prize for public service. I still have my copy, every word of which still rings true today.

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