LA Times wins Pulitzer for exposing big Bell salaries

File photo: (L-R) City of Bell council members Lorenzo Velez, vice mayor Teresa Jacobo, mayor Oscar Hernandez, Councilman George Mirabel and Councilman Luis Artiga listen to residents asking them to resign during a council meeting on July 26, 2010 in Bell, California.
File photo: (L-R) City of Bell council members Lorenzo Velez, vice mayor Teresa Jacobo, mayor Oscar Hernandez, Councilman George Mirabel and Councilman Luis Artiga listen to residents asking them to resign during a council meeting on July 26, 2010 in Bell, California. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for a series exposing how politicians in the struggling, working-class city of Bell, Calif., were paying themselves enormous, six-figure salaries.

The newspaper's reporting that officials in the 37,000-resident town were jacking up property taxes and other fees in part to cover the huge salaries led to arrests and the ouster of some of the city's political leaders.

The Times won a second Pulitzer for feature photography, and The New York Times won two Pulitzers for international reporting and for commentary.

But in a year in which the earthquake in Haiti and the disastrous Gulf oil spill were some of the biggest news stories, the Pulitzer Board decided not to give an award in the category of breaking news.

- Chris Hawley

Jennifer Egan wins fiction Pulitzer

Jennifer Egan's novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday, honored for its "big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed."

The play "Clybourne Park," Bruce Norris' riff on "A Raisin in the Sun" that examined race relations and the effects of modern gentrification, won the drama prize.

The Pulitzer for history was awarded to "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery," by Eric Foner. The biography award went to "Washington: A Life," by Ron Chernow, and Kay Ryan's "The Best of It: New and Selected Poems," won the poetry prize.

The general nonfiction prize was given to "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer," by Siddhartha Mukherjee, while the music prize went to Zhou Long for "Madame White Snake."

- Mark Kennedy

The 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners:

Journalism

Public service: Los Angeles Times

Breaking news reporting: No award

Investigative reporting: Paige St. John of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Explanatory reporting: Mark Johnson, Kathleen Gallagher, Gary Porter, Lou Saldivar and Alison Sherwood of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Local reporting: Frank Main, Mark Konkol and John J. Kim of the Chicago Sun-Times

National reporting: Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein of ProPublica

International reporting: Clifford J. Levy and Ellen Barry of The New York Times

Feature writing: Amy Ellis Nutt of The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.

Commentary: David Leonhardt of The New York Times

Criticism: Sebastian Smee of The Boston Globe

Editorial writing: Joseph Rago of The Wall Street Journal

Editorial cartooning: Mike Keefe of The Denver Post

Breaking news photography: Carol Guzy, Nikki Kahn and Ricky Carioti of The Washington Post

Feature photography: Barbara Davidson of the Los Angeles Times

Arts

Fiction: "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan (Alfred A. Knopf)

Drama: "Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris

History: "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Biography: "Washington: A Life" by Ron Chernow (The Penguin Press)

Poetry: "The Best of It: New and Selected Poems" by Kay Ryan (Grove Press)

General nonfiction: "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner)

Music: "Madame White Snake" by Zhou Long, premiered Feb. 26, 2010, by the Boston Opera at the Cutler Majestic Theatre

© 2011 The Associated Press

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