Online sites win journalism firsts at Pulitzers

Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:15am EDT
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By Edith Honan and Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - ProPublica, in an historic first for online journalism, won a coveted Pulitzer Prize on Monday for investigative reporting about controversial deaths at a New Orleans medical center following Hurricane Katrina.

The chronicle of decisions by doctors caring for patients stranded by the flood, written by Sheri Fink of ProPublica in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine, marked the first time an online service won a top journalism award given annually by the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University.

The nonprofit ProPublica is considered by some to be a new model for journalism as struggling for-profit outlets have fewer resources to put toward investigative reporting. The Times magazine published the Hurricane Katrina piece.

"This is something we're going to see more of in the years ahead as there's more and more collaboration of news entities when it comes to enterprise journalism," Sig Gissler, administrator of the prizes, said in announcing the winners.

In another online first,, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, won for editorial cartooning. The award for the animated cartoons by Mark Fiore marked the first time an Internet-based entry won in that category.

A second Pulitzer for investigative reporting went to Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News for their expose of a rogue police narcotics squad.


Reporter Michael Moss and New York Times staff won in the explanatory reporting category for writing about contaminated hamburger and food safety issues. Reporter Matt Richtel and Times staff won the national reporting award for writing about the hazards of using cell phones and computers while driving.   Continued...

<p>A screen grab of ProPublica's web site. REUTERS/</p>