St. Petersburg Times Wins Two Pulitzer Prizes

I nearly cried when I heard the news. The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times had won not one, but two, Pulitzer prizes — one for national reporting and another for feature reporting. It’s the first time the paper has ever won two Pulitzers in the same year.

The national reporting award was in recognition of the paper’s “PolitiFact” project, which combines computer programing and investigative reporting to fact check politicians’ statements.

The feature award went to Lane DeGregory for “The Girl in the Window,” a narrative about 9-year-old Dani, a feral child who was seriously neglected by her biological mother, practically left to die in a small room infested with feces and thousands of German cockroaches. The story is about so much more than neglect; it’s about what it means to let love into your life, to communicate without words, to be lost even after you’ve been found.

I’m of course happy for all the newspapers that won a Pulitzer this year for such stories. But I can’t help but be especially happy for the Times, seeing as I work for The Poynter Institute, which owns the paper.

Nelson Poynter on May 4, 1964, after finding out the Times had won a Pulitzer.
Nelson Poynter on May 4, 1964, after finding out the Times had won a Pulitzer.

Nelson Poynter, former editor of the Times, founded the institute in 1975 so that journalists could have the training they needed to be better at what they do. He believed that “ownership or participation in ownership of a publication or broadcast property is a sacred trust and a great privilege.”

His mission and vision for the institute have been carried out throughout the years, so it makes sense that the Times‘ wins means a lot to the school that has such a close connection to the paper.

This year’s Pulitzer awards are a sign that despite all the doom and gloom, good work is still being done. During a time when newspapers are struggling, and on a day that’s marked by historic moments such as the anniversary of the Columbine shootings and Adolf Hitler’s birthday, it was refreshing to associate April 20 with something new — victory and hope for the future of quality journalism.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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