They released the past year’s Pulitzer Prize winners on Monday — sadly, my name has been omitted for the fourth-straight time.
I’m kidding about that last part, but I do love reading these lists of journalists that I know and have read over the years as they are being rewarded for the important work that they are doing. The prizes encompassed stories of abuse in the workplace, construction of a border wall and a profile on Dylann Roof, who was convicted in 2016 for murdering nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church.
I didn’t recognize all of the journalists, authors or photographers who won, but I did recognize the stories they covered and photos they took.
One of the stories that I got to play a part in covering directly resulted in a couple of the year’s award winners.
John Archibald, of the Alabama Media Group, won the award for his “lyrical and courageous commentary” that focused on issues in Alabama in the past year. He wrote about Confederate monuments and columns about the U.S. Senate run by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, whose campaign run was marred by allegations of sexual misconduct. I love John’s writing and have personally shared dozens of his columns with friends and family.
He has this uncanny ability to point out the absurd in a poignant way that I had grown to appreciate and tried to emulate.
The Washington Post also won the award for investigative reporting in its coverage of the Moore campaign.
Other small town, community journalists were rewarded for their reporting over the past year, as well. It wasn’t just the New York Times or Post. I feel like that’s encouraging as a newspaper editor. These people were recognized for coverage of fires and state government issues that affected large swaths of the state population in addition to their coverage area.
It was inspiring to read those names. I like seeing their writing process and reading the work they put out. It’s important work.
Every now and then you need some inspiration like that. You can get burnt out with this job just like any other.
I like seeing my peers rewarded for their hard work. I understand their struggle on a level that most people may not.
Monday was a rewarding day for good journalists and good journalism.
Bradley Roberts is managing editor of the Times-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.