NEW YORK -- The New York Times came out ahead of its colleagues on Monday, receiving three Pulitzer Prizes, the top journalism honor awarded annually by Columbia University. Meanwhile, The Washington Post was honored for its coverage of the Secret Service's security lapses, despite a major correction to one of its scoops on the subject.
The Times' staff won the International Reporting award for its two-month investigation of the Ebola outbreak, and Times freelance photographer Daniel Berehulak received the feature photography award for images from West Africa. In addition, The New York Times' Eric Lipton won in the Investigative Reporting category for reporting on the way lobbyists and lawyers aggressively court state attorneys general, a story that prompted follow-up investigations by outlets in several states.
The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig won the National Reporting award for work that helped shake up the Secret Service after a series of security lapses. But the Pulitzer Board's decision may prove controversial given that Leonnig erroneously described a security guard who rode in an elevator with President Barack Obama as a convicted "felon" in one of the articles submitted. The Post didn't correct Leonnig's report for more than a month after publication, ultimately doing so only a day before Kenneth Tate, the security guard who accompanied Obama in the elevator, revealed himself in The New York Times and provided a much different account than Leonnig's anonymous sources had.
Another one of Leonnig's prizewinning stories was a May 2014 report about Operation Moonlight, a Secret Service operation in which agents were reportedly diverted from their jobs to protect a personal friend of the agency's director. Leonnig's sources said that the operation went on for more than two months, but an Inspector General report later found "no evidence" that it lasted more than a few days.
Leonnig also came under scrutiny last month after publishing a bombshell story about allegations of Secret Service agents drunkenly crashing a car at the White House. The incident now appears far less dramatic given that the two agents didn’t appear intoxicated to senior officials on the scene, and that surveillance video showed the pair simply nudging a traffic cone. That story, published in March 2015, was not eligible for consideration for this year's Pulitzer Prize.
Along with Lipton, The Wall Street Journal's staff also won in the Investigative Reporting category for a series on Medicare, the paper's first Pulitzer for reporting since Rupert Murdoch purchased it in 2007. In the Explanatory Reporting category, Bloomberg News won its first Pulitzer for Zachary Mider's work on tax inversions.
The Los Angeles Times took home two awards, with Diane Marcum winning for Feature Writing and Mary McNamara for Criticism. The Post and Courier, a Charleston, South Carolina, paper, won the Public Service award for its series on female victims of domestic violence being killed at an alarming rate in South Carolina.
More to come on the 2015 Pulitzer winners. For now, here's the full list:
The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC
Breaking News Reporting
The Seattle Times Staff
Eric Lipton of The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal Staff
Zachary R. Mider of Bloomberg News
Rob Kuznia, Rebecca Kimitch and Frank Suraci of the Daily Breeze, Torrance, CA
Carol D. Leonnig of The Washington Post
The New York Times Staff
Diana Marcum of the Los Angeles Times
Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle
Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times
Kathleen Kingsbury of The Boston Globe
Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News
Breaking News Photography
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photography Staff
Daniel Berehulak, freelance photographer, The New York Times
Letters, Drama, and Music
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn (Hill and Wang)
Biography or Autobiography
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer (Random House)
Digest by Gregory Pardlo (Four Way Books)
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt)
Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe (Red Poppy Music/G. Schirmer, Inc.)
This story has been updated to include further detail about the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winners.