Sarah Stultz: Pulitzer winners are an inspiration to all

Published 7:16 pm Monday, April 22, 2019

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


Some get excited for the Grammys or the Oscars, but for me it’s the Pulitzer Prizes.

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Each year, particularly in the journalism categories, I get a rush when I found out who has won — and when I read the carefully crafted stories and editorials they told to be awarded such a feat.

As a fellow journalist whose pie in the sky goal it is to someday win a Pulitzer Prize myself, it is also inspirational.

This year, I was pleased — and somewhat saddened at the same time — to see a few of the winners: South Florida Sun Sentinel, for its coverage following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the staff of the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, for their “immersive, compassionate coverage” of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting, among others. Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, was awarded a special citation to honor the staff of their newspaper for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history in their newsroom on June 28, 2018, and for their “unflagging commitment to cover the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief,” according to the board. The newspaper was given a $100,000 bequest by the Pulitzer Board to be used to further the newspaper’s journalistic mission.

There were several others, but these are a few that stuck out to me.

I am proud of these papers. They saw unspeakable tragedy in their own communities — and sometimes even in their own newsrooms — but they took their duties as journalists seriously. They put a human face on the horror, and I am not at all surprised that they received the prestigious recognition.

I recall visiting South Florida Sun Sentinel in the days and weeks after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman and the Pittsburg Post-Gazette after the synagogue shooting. Though the thought crossed my mind to check major national news organizations for the stories for updates, I knew that the local papers were the most dedicated to the issues. They often had more in-depth stories and covered things the national outlets did not.

Their coverage truly was remarkable and is something to applaud the more I think about it.

Why did I become a journalist? The impact these papers have had over the last year illustrates that answer for me.

Seeing the good these newspapers did in their communities by being trusted, fearless information sources illustrates the impact newspapers can have — whether they’re a newsroom of five like here at the Tribune or whether they have 25, 50 or maybe even more journalists on their staff.

Though our resources are not as large as the papers that won, I hope we can be the same trusted source for many years to come.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.