On April 15, hundreds of newsrooms around the country huddled around their computer screens to watch Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy announce this year's list of winners. Among the 14 journalism category award winners were the South Florida Sun Sentinel for its coverage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its breaking news reporting of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. A Special Citation award was also given to the Capital Gazette for its coverage of the shooting that took place in its newsroom that killed five employees a year ago this month.
Typically, winning a Pulitzer is cause for celebration. Champagne is poured. There are shouts, hugs and tears around the newsroom (you will find plenty of smiles in our photo spread inside this issue). But for the papers mentioned above, it was a day filled with mixed emotions.
"It's hard to celebrate when you remember that 14 children and three young adults were killed at their desks, in the hallways or while confronting the killer. Over the course of the year, we've also gotten to know their grieving families. We recognize that everyone connected to this horrific event will forever carry scars," the Sun Sentinel published in an editorial the day after winning their award.
Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook called the gathering "subdued" when he and the rest of the paper's staff came together to watch the Pulitzer announcement.
"There was definitely no exciting pop-off like there may have been at other papers," Cook said in a Baltimore Sun article. "It was a little confused. Was it OK to cheer? It's a complicated feeling. I think we were all overcome with excitement, but also the reminder of the worst day of our lives."
In the Post-Gazette newsroom, there was a moment of silence for the Tree of Life synagogue shooting victims.
"This is not a moment of celebration, it cannot be," Post-Gazette executive editor Keith Burns told the newsroom after their win.
David Shribman, emeritus executive editor, added, "We are not so much celebrating as affirming ... the job we were put on this earth to do. Let's dedicate ourselves to the...