5 takeaways from the 2015 Pulitzer Prizes

Despite new rules that brought magazines into contention, and continued economic and editorial disruption throughout the media, the 99th annual Pulitzer Prizes were again dominated by newspapers this year. Winners of the awards, announced Monday at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, ranged from national media giants to local dailies. Here are five more takeaways from this year’s finalists and winners:

Good things come in small packages
The Post and Courier, an 80,000-copy-a-day newspaper in Charleston, SC, became the smallest to win the Public Service award since the Bristol Herald Courier in 2010. The Post and Courier’s “Till Death Do Us Part,” an examination of why South Carolina is the most dangerous state for women, was awarded the prize over the much larger Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal. The Daily Breeze, a 60,000-copy-a-day paper in Torrance, CA, also took home the Pulitzer for Local Reporting after inquiries into widespread corruption in a nearby school district.

Bloomberg makes its mark
Bloomberg, which recently rebranded its website Bloomberg Business as part of a bid to appeal to general audiences, finally ended its Pulitzer drought with Zachary R. Mider’s award for Explanatory Reporting. The series was right in Bloomberg’s niche, describing how US corporations evade taxes. The site was also the only non-newspaper to win a Pulitzer this year.

New media left out …
Despite luring numerous well-respected reporters away from legacy news organizations in the last year, new media drew scant praise from the Pulitzer Board. The prizes were swept by old media, from The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig for National Reporting to the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg for Commentary. Only one finalist hails from new media: Dan Perkins of Daily Kos, a liberal political outlet, for Editorial Cartooning.

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… along with magazines
Opening the awards to magazines–as well as collaborations with ineligible organizations like broadcast networks–in two categories led to a surge of nominations: a 50 percent increase in Investigative entries (75 in 2014, 112 this year) and a 21 percent increase in Feature Writing (127 to 154), prize administrator Mike Pride told Poynter. None of them won. No collaborations made the list of finalists either, while The New Yorker was the sole magazine finalist in Features, for “Before The Law,” an account of a Bronx teenager who spent three years imprisoned on Rikers Island after he was accused of stealing a backpack.

A final send off
In one honor that will likely see few complaints, the late David Carr, The New York Times’ venerated and much-beloved media critic who passed away in February, was named a finalist in Commentary for the first time.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.