The sun still rises in the east, Hell remains unfrozen over, and the National Enquirer did not win the Pulitzer Prize. But the Seattle Times did - for its breaking news reporting on the slayings of four Lakewood police officers. In giving the award today for a distinguished example of local reporting with special emphasis on the speed and accuracy of the initial coverage, the Pulitzer judges awarded the honor (and $10,000) to the Times staff "for its comprehensive coverage, in print and online, of the shooting deaths of four police officers in a coffee house and the 40-hour manhunt for the suspect," Maurice Clemmons, later shot dead by a Seattle cop. Thanks to the Times' "flood-the-zone" styled reporting on breaking events, the paper can now claim eight Prizes since Ed Guthman won the paper's first Pulitzer in 1950.
Tab had a fat chance of winning
The Puget Sound Business Journal of Seattle was a finalist in the explanatory category for its "meticulous examination of the collapse of Washington Mutual, the biggest bank failure in U.S. history, plumbing causes and raising troubling questions about federal regulation," Pulitzer judges said. "Next to Normal," a musical that got its start at the Village Theater in Issaquah, also won the Pulitzer for drama.Some media observers speculated an award would go to the Enquirer for its investigation revealing the affair and love child of ex-presidential candidate John Edwards. It hadn't been a necessarily popular move when the Pulitzer committee agreed to include the market tabloid in its contest. As Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine put it, "members of the mainstream media would rather see the earth explode first than to reward us with a Pulitzer Prize."
Update: Executive Editor Dave Boardman said the paper's joy for the honor is tempered by the tragic nature of the story, the Times reported today. Also nominated as finalists in the breaking news category, the committee said, were the Staff of The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J., for its sweeping coverage of 44 arrests in a widespread corruption scandal that snared local officials, several religious leaders and others; and The Washington Post Staff for its compelling coverage of an Army psychiatrist, with long ties to Washington, who killed 13 people in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. In the criticism category, Michael Feingold of The Village Voice, one of Seattle Weekly's sister publications, was a finalist for "his engaging, authoritative drama reviews."
Copyright, Seattle Times, by Jim Bates Cheers in the newsroom today