Sarah Stultz: Be inspired by the impact of journalists

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

The 2023 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced last week, and as I started reviewing this year’s winners and finalists, I found myself getting sucked into the work created by these talented journalists.

Every year when the prize winners are announced, I like to take time out of my schedule to read the work of the winners and be motivated by the hard work and vivid storytelling that these journalists exhibit.

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Pulitzer Prizes were established in 1904 in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, a prestigious newspaper publisher as an incentive to excellence, according to the Pulitzer Prize website. Pulitzer specified four awards in journalism, four in books and drama, one for education and five traveling scholarships. The number of the awards in the years since has grown.

Pulitzer felt so strongly about journalism that in his will he endowed $2 million for the establishment of a School of Journalism at Columbia University to train up future journalists.

He said, “I am deeply interested in the progress and elevation of journalism, having spent my life in that profession, regarding it as a noble profession and one of unequaled importance for its influence upon the minds and morals of the people.”

I thought about those words as I read through some of this year’s winners and finalists.

Among some of my favorites were work by the Associated Press in the category of Public Service for reporting from the besieged city of Mariupol that bore witness to the slaughter of civilians in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They wrote of mass graves, including children, on the outskirts of the city and the measures the people there were taking to survive.

Without these brave journalists, many of them Ukrainian, the world might not have known the extent of that invasion — which was opposite of what was being portrayed by Russian news.

Then there was the work by the Austin American-Statesman together with the USA Today Network in their coverage of the law enforcement response following the shooting of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Not only did the news organizations publish video showing the delayed police response inside the elementary school where the shooting occurred, but they told the heart-wrenching stories of family members and others affected by the tragedy.

They personalized a horrible event and helped these people tell their stories.

The work they did is also prompting changes — not only in Uvalde but in other places across the country. The work asked important questions that may not have otherwise been asked.

I was also in awe of some of the photography entries — again for photos taken in the first weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and also of photos that followed the story of a pregnant 22-year-old woman, who lived on the street.

These photojournalists told the stories of real-life people, many at their worst as they dealt with heartache, death and other hardship.

If you have some time where you want to be inspired by the impact journalists can have, I encourage you to check out some of the winners and finalists at

Not only do journalists tell the human story, but they also document history.

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