How to win a Pulitzer Prize

Six Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists came to Columbia’s journalism school for an interview panel called “Waiting to Be Told” on how they used investigative techniques and reporting skills to dig up “stories waiting to be discovered.”

Here are the works they talked about:

Speeding off-duty cops imperil the public“- Sally Kestin and John Mains from the “Sun Sentinal” in Florida. They won the Public Service Prize.

The amount of shoe leather burned doing this story was amazing to hear about. The journalists actually drove the distances between almost all the tolls to gather mileage data that wasn’t recorded in data acquired from the police departments and other sources.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek“- John Branch from the “New York Times”. A total of 16 people participated in this multimedia creation over a period of six months. John and his team won the Feature Writing Prize.

I was delighted to rediscover this piece after originally seeing it when  friend emailed it to me as an interesting read. It is the piece that inspired me to seriously pursue journalism. I found it inspiring as an innovative way of combining the increasingly accessible digital tools journalists have with more traditional story telling techniques. This, I think, is the future of journalism. It allowed me to dream of exploring the use of data and graphics as interesting tools to use in my story telling.

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And he retweeted me!

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The Dillbit Disaster:Inside TheBiggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of“- Lisa Song, Elizabeth McGowan and David Hasemyer from “InsideClimate News”. They received the National Reporting Prize.

Lately, I’ve become a lot more interested in environmental economics, environmental justice, and environmental journalism. It is an area in which I think we will see a lot more reporting as our world changes and undergoes climate change. And also as we discover more and more of our natural world–much of this earth remains to be explored! This grass roots news organization is doing amazing work despite its small staff that works together virtually with no physical newsroom.

Thank you to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism for hosting these amazing journalists for the benefit of its students. And thank you to these six journalists and all other journalists out there who’s moral compasses point right and inspire the field to remain strong despite uncertainty surrounding its future.