Journalism’s highest honor went to the Post and Courier for its series on domestic violence — a series that has spurred legislation that has an uncertain future in the Legislature.
The Pulitzer Public Service gold medal was awarded for the P&C’s “Till Death Do Us Part” series that was published across five editions in August. Reporters Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Natalie Caula Hauff authored the series. Last year, the gold medal — the highest Pulitzer honor — went to The Washington Post and The Guardian for exposing widespread secret surveillance on Americans.
The Post and Courier’s work told the tales of domestic abuse survivors and of the 300 women in the Palmetto State who have been shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death by men during the past decade while legislators did little to quell the bloodshed.
A panel of seven judges from news media and academia called the newspaper’s work “riveting.”
“We are humbled and honored to receive such distinguished praise,” Mitch Pugh, the newspaper’s executive editor, said. “But this series was really about making safer the lives of women in South Carolina. To see our infamously intransigent state Legislature jump into action was deeply rewarding.”
As we reported over the weekend, domestic violence legislation that would strengthen criminal penalties and take away guns from abusers is stalled after different versions of the bill passed the House and Senate. The impasse is mostly technical — senators are urging the House to pass a version of the Senate bill so the two sides can compromise in a conference committee.
So far, the House hasn’t budged on its position that its bill would be the better template. House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister said recently that the House would take the Senate bill up. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Additional coverage in the New York Times.
Pulitzer minutiae: From Pulitzer.org:
In 1918, a year after the Prizes began, the medal was designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French and his associate Henry Augustus Lukeman. French later gained fame for his seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. One side of the medal displays the profile of Benjamin Franklin, apparently based on the bust by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Decorating the other side is a husky, bare-chested printer at work, his shirt draped across the end of a press. Surrounding the printer are the words: “For disinterested and meritorious public service rendered by an American newspaper during the year….”
The name of the winning news organization is inscribed on the Franklin side of the medal. The year of the award is memorialized on the other side.
The medal, about two and three-quarter inches in diameter and a quarter-inch thick, is not solid gold. It is silver with 24-carat gold plate and presented to the winning newspaper in an elegant cherry-wood box with brass hardware.
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