US & World

Pulitzer Prizes: LA Times, Daily Breeze honored


Two Southern California newspapers have been recognized with Pulitzer prizes for excellence in journalism.

The Los Angeles Times took home two awards, while reporters at the smaller, Torrance-based Daily Breeze took home another.

It was the first Pulitzer Prize not only for the Breeze, but also for the entire Los Angeles News Group, which includes the L.A. Daily News, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the Pasadena Star-News, the San Bernardino Sun and others, according to the paper.

The three reporters at the Breeze won for local reporting for their series on "widespread corruption in a small, cash-strapped school district, including impressive use of the paper's website," according to the Pulitzer citation.

Rob Kuznia, Rebecca Kimitch and Frank Suraci's stories first uncovered how Centinella Valley High School District superintendent Jose Fernandez negotiated so many perks in his contract that he managed to amass $663,000 in compensation in 2013. The series went on to expose the district's massive spending on legal fees and a culture of cronyism.

L.A. Observed reports that one of the reporters is no longer working in journalism:

We should note that Kuznia left the Breeze and journalism last year and is currently a publicist in the communications department of USC Shoah Foundation. I spoke with him this afternoon and he admitted to a twinge of regret at no longer being a journalist, but he said it was too difficult to make ends meet at the newspaper while renting in the LA area. Kuznia was one of the reporters who left the Santa Barbara News Press during the whole Wendy McCaw mess up there.

At the L.A. Times, Mary McNamara won "for savvy criticism that uses shrewdness, humor and an insider's view to show how both subtle and seismic shifts in the cultural landscape affect television," according to the Pulitzer citation.

Diana Marcum, also of the Times, won for feature writing. Her series of stories from California's Central Valley offered "nuanced portraits of lives affected by the state's drought, bringing an original and empathic perspective to the story."

McNamara and Marcum's awards bring the Times' total Pulitzer count to 43, according to L.A. Observed.

The award for public service went to The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, for "Till Death Do Us Part," described in the Pulitzer citation as "a riveting series that probed why South Carolina is among the deadliest states in the union for women and put the issue of what to do about it on the state's agenda."

Glenn Smith, special project editor at the Post and Courier and a reporter on the seven-part series, spoke to WNYC last year about the stories, pointing to inherited notions of violence, according to NPR:

"Guys grow up to believe this is how you treat women," he said. "Women grow up to believe this is how you're supposed to be treated by your man."

In the arts, the fiction prize went to Anthony Doerr for "All the Light We Cannot See."

According to the Pulitzer citation, Doerr's work is "an imaginative and intricate novel inspired by the horrors of World War II and written in short, elegant chapters that explore human nature and the contradictory power of technology."

Gregory Pardlo won for poetry for his "clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private."

The prizes come with a $10,000 award.

You can see the full list of winners below.

Journalism

PUBLIC SERVICE - The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

BREAKING NEWS REPORTING - The Seattle Times Staff

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING - Two Prizes: - Eric Lipton of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Staff

EXPLANATORY REPORTING - Zachary R. Mider of Bloomberg News

LOCAL REPORTING - Rob Kuznia, Rebecca Kimitch and Frank Suraci of the Daily Breeze, Torrance, CA

NATIONAL REPORTING - Carol D. Leonnig of The Washington Post

INTERNATIONAL REPORTING - The New York Times Staff

FEATURE WRITING - Diana Marcum of the Los Angeles Times

COMMENTARY - Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle

CRITICISM - Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times

EDITORIAL WRITING - Kathleen Kingsbury of The Boston Globe

EDITORIAL CARTOONING - Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News

BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY - St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photography Staff

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY - Daniel Berehulak , freelance photographer, The New York Times

Books, Drama and Music

FICTION - "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)

DRAMA - "Between Riverside and Crazy" by Stephen Adly Guirgis

HISTORY - "Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People " by Elizabeth A. Fenn (Hill and Wang)

BIOGRAPHY - "The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe" by David I. Kertzer (Random House)

POETRY - "Digest" by Gregory Pardlo (Four Way Books)

GENERAL NONFICTION - "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt)

MUSIC - "Anthracite Fields" by Julia Wolfe (G. Schirmer, Inc.)

This story has been updated.