NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times each won two coveted Pulitzer Prizes for journalism on Monday, and for the first time no award was given for breaking news coverage.
The Los Angeles Times, whose publisher Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy in 2008, won the public service award for exposing corruption in the Californian city of Bell where officials paid themselves large salaries.
The coverage led to arrests and reforms.
Los Angeles Times photographer Barbara Davidson was awarded the feature photography Pulitzer for her pictures of bystanders trapped in the cross-fire of Los Angeles gang violence.
The New York Times’ Clifford J. Levy and Ellen Barry won in the international reporting category for putting “a human face on the faltering justice system in Russia, remarkably influencing the discussion inside the country.”
David Leonhardt of The New York Times won the commentary Pulitzer for “his graceful penetration of America’s complicated economic questions, from the federal budget deficit to health care reform.”
The Pulitzer Prizes prizes honor journalism, books, drama and poetry and are awarded annually by the Pulitzer Prize Board at New York City’s Columbia University. Each winner receives $10,000.
For the first time no prize was awarded for breaking news.
Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said there had been 25 other occasions when awards were not given in some categories.
“The board does not discuss or debate specific decisions, the awards are supposed to basically speak for themselves,” Gissler told a news conference.
Many U.S. newspapers including the Los Angeles Times have faced financial strain in recent years as a result of dwindling advertising revenue and increasing Internet readership.
ProPublica, a nonprofit organization which last year became the first online news service to win a Pulitzer Prize, took home the national reporting award for Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein’ exposure of questionable practices on Wall Street that contributed to the U.S. economic downturn.
The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph Rago won the prize for editorial writing that challenged “the health care reform advocated by President Obama,” and The Washington Post’s Carol Guzy, Nikki Kahn and Ricky Carioti won the breaking news photography award for their work after the Haiti earthquake.
Paige St. John of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune won the investigative reporting prize for her examination of weaknesses in the property insurance system vital to Florida homeowners.
Amy Ellis Nutt of The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J., won the feature writing award for her story of the mysterious sinking of a commercial fishing boat that killed six men.
Author Jennifer Egan won the fiction prize for “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” Bruce Norris picked up the drama award for “Clybourne Park” and Siddhartha Mukherjee was awarded the nonfiction prize for “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.”
Additional reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Laura MacInnis