The Washington Post edged out The Times today and took home four Pulitzers to lead all newspapers in the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes.
It’s a big win for Post editor Marcus Brauchli, who has gone through a year marred by semi-scandals and bad publicity–the SalonGate, Sally Quinn’s embarrassing column, questions of a lost identity at the paper–and can now wave a bit of good news in front of everyone’s face. Two years ago, in Len Downie’s final year as editor, The Washington Post took home a record for the paper with six Pulitzers, which Mr. Brauchli followed up by delivering only one Pulitzer in his first full year as editor (and the award was for not any work produced by the paper’s staff at large, but instead for Eugene Robinson’s commentary).
Anthony Shadid, who left The Post for The Times in September 2009, won for international reporting, and Gene Weingarten won his second Pulitzer in three years. Kathleen Parker won for commentary and Sarah Kaufman won for her dance reviews. But if you’re a Post-critic, you do have some ammunition that the accomplishments had little to do with Mr. Brauchli because (a) Shadid left the paper, (b) Parker has been due for the award for some time, (c) Kaufman is a dance critic and (d) Weingarten* already has won the award, and was a prized part of the Downie-era as well.
The Times, which last year took home five Pulitzers after being disappointed with the Pulitzer Committee in recent years, nabbed a respectable two–or three!–depending on how you count it. Michael Moss won for explanatory reporting for food safety issues, and Matt Richtel won the National Reporting prize for all his stories on cell phone usage. Sheri Fink won for a ProPublica story that was published in The Times Magazine, which may count as a prize for The Times or not, depending on how you want to score these things.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, which was once a Pulitzer-hoarder under Paul Steiger, once again goes home empty-handed. The paper has not won an award since April 2007, and this brings The Journal‘s Pulitzer count in the Murdoch era to a grand total of zero. On the one hand, Mr. Murdoch and Journal editor Robert Thomson would tell you that they don’t care about awards. And yet that didn’t stop Mr. Thomson from getting into a public shoving match with Times editor Bill Keller over a George Polk Award submission. Mr. Thomson said that Mr. Keller tried to tamper with the awards process in 2008.
To deflect the attention away, minutes before the Pulitzer news was released, The Journal sent out a press release about their accomplishments with the Payne Awards.
And for the record, Paul Steiger now has now delivered more Pulitzers to ProPublica than The Journal has won since he left the paper.
*UPDATE: We forgot to mention that Mr. Weingarten is not even on staff on the paper anymore after he took a buyout from the Post last June (though he still contributes to the paper).