In Pulitzer Race, Bill Keller Does Not Yet Catch Howell Raines

howellrainesbillkeller In Pulitzer Race, Bill Keller Does Not Yet Catch Howell RainesThe New York Times under executive editor Bill Keller still has fewer Pulitzer victories to its credit than during the short-lived reign of his predecessor, Howell Raines.

Under Raines, who served approximately 21 months before resigning in 2003 in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, the paper’s news pages published seven Pulitzer-winning entries.

In more than twice that span of time—53 Pulitzer-eligible months as executive editor—Keller has published six Pulitzer winners.

This tally omits prizes won by op-ed columnists, who report to the editorial page editor, not the executive editor.

Four of the Raines Pulitzers were awarded for coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks, which occurred shortly after Raines took office. For the biggest news story of Keller’s tenure, the ongoing war in Iraq, the Times has yet to win a single prize.

The math follows:

September, 2001: Howell Raines named exec editor (after Joseph Lelyveld, who served from 1994-2001).

2002

Four 9/11 Pulitzers, including two for photography.

One for commentary to Thomas Friedman. (Discounted: the editorial page does not report to the executive editor.)

One for Barry Bearak for Afghanistan at war. (As the war began, technically, on October 7, 2001, credit goes to Raines–although Bearak’s assignment to Afghanistan took place previously.)

One for Gretchen Morgenson (After September 11, 2001, she split her time between her beat and 9/11 reporting; the bulk of the work took place under Lelyveld, and so goes the credit.)

2003

One for Clifford Levy for “Broken Homes.” (Series ran in April, 2002; credit to Raines.)

June 2003: Raines resigns; Lelyveld named interim executive editor. July 2003: Bill Keller named executive editor.

2004

One for David Barstow and Lowell Bergman on auto workers. (Series ran in January 2003; credit to Raines.)

2005

One for Walt Bogdanich on rail crossings.

2006

Three. (Including Kristof for commentary–credit to no executive editor.)

2007

One.

2008

Two.

TOTAL PULITZERS PER EXECUTIVE EDITOR

RAINES: 7

KELLER: 6