Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson captured the prize for commentary for his writing about the campaign that led to Barack Obama's election.
Robinson, a former city editor, foreign correspondent and assistant managing editor for the Style section, told the Post newsroom that he was particularly pleased to have won for his coverage of "the biggest political event of my lifetime, and one that has personal meaning for me." A number of his columns offered a black journalist's reflections on Obama's campaign.
The New York Times won five Pulitzer Prizes today, including one for revealing the prostitution scandal that forced Eliot Spitzer to resign as New York governor.
Scandal played a role in a number of awards, such as the local reporting prize that went to the Detroit Free Press for disclosing the steamy text messages that led to the resignation and jailing of the city's mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.
Smaller newspapers fared better than in previous years, with the Las Vegas Sun winning the coveted public service award for reports on the death of construction workers, and the East Valley Tribune of Mesa, Ariz., sharing the local reporting prize for examining how one sheriff's focus on immigration enforcement endangered investigations of other crimes. The St. Petersburg Times won two awards, one for national reporting for fact-checking competing claims during the presidential campaign, and the other for feature writing by Lane DeGregory for her reports on the adoption of a neglected girl.
In addition, Mark Mahoney won the editorial writing prize for the Post-Star of Glen Falls, N.Y.
The awards, administered by Columbia University, serve as a reminder of exemplary journalism during a difficult period in which newspapers have been slashing staff and news space and some have shut down or been threatened with closure.
Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart, who won the explanatory reporting award for coverage of the growing menace of wildfires, work for the Los Angeles Times, which is part of the bankrupt Tribune Co. Steve Breen won the editorial cartooning prize for the San Diego Union-Tribune, which was recently sold to a private equity firm. And the Free Press won after cutting back home delivery to three days a week.
Among the other New York Times awards, David Barstow won for investigative reporting for scrutinizing how the Pentagon attempted to coopt retired military officers who became television commentators. The Times staff won for reporting on the U.S. challenge in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holland Carter won for criticism, and Damon Winter for feature photography. The Times won the breaking news reporting prize for its Spitzer coverage.
Patrick Ferrell of the Miami Herald won the Pulitzer for breaking news photography.