Coveted Pulitzer Prizes Announced

The winners of the 2013 Pulitzer Prizes, with awards for journalism, fiction, poetry, drama and music were announced Monday. Among the winners are Adam Johnson for his novel The Orphan Master's Son and The Denver Post for its breaking news coverage of the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in July 2012. Co-host Robert Siegel speaks with NPR's David Folkenflik about the winners.

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The 2013 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded today in journalism, fiction, poetry, drama and music. Among the winners: many of the most prominent news organizations and some less prominent. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us now from our bureau in New York. And, David, tell us about some of today's winners.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Well, a tough day to celebrate journalism rather than report on some sad stirrings in Boston, of course. But, you know, some very worthy work was recognized today. The New York Times won four Pulitzers, including for a project that was an incredible expose of corruption among the highest political elites in China, including the family of the Chinese premier.

The Washington Post's Philip Kennicott won for his criticism that tied the arts to larger society. The Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens won for his contrarian commentaries on foreign commentaries on foreign policy and domestic politics; the AP, the Associated Press for its photography of the civil war in Syria, a tough and dangerous reporting there.

And big metro papers too: the Minneapolis Star Tribune for deaths at day care homes, the Tampa Bay Times for editorials on the fights over fluoridation of water, the Denver Post for its coverage of deadly shootings in Aurora. And a little site called InsideClimate News based in Brooklyn, it's only been around for a few years, did stuff on diluted bitumen, an exceptionally dirty crude oil that's not very well regulated and not very well known.

SIEGEL: David, last year, the Pulitzer committee chose not to give the award to any works of fiction. That was a controversial decision. This year, there is a winner. Who is it?

FOLKENFLIK: Adam Johnson won for his book called "The Orphan Master's Son." It offered readers an imagined look into the heart of North Korea, of course, that incredibly authoritarian, dictatorial state.

SIEGEL: Any other winners caught your eye today?

FOLKENFLIK: Well, I thought there were a couple of things. One was a very impressive multiplatform look at the consequences and effect of an avalanche done by The New York Times. John Branch won for that, but with a team of colleagues putting that together. And The Wall Street Journal, you know, today, won its second Pulitzer in five years. But it's very noted there, both were for commentary, both were for opinion journalism, not for their news reporting.

Since Rupert Murdoch acquired The Journal late 2007, the paper has not received any Pulitzers for its reporting, and senior executives there have kind of developed a bit of a complex about this. They are convinced that the reporting of their journalists, often brave and very impressive, in places like China and around the world has been ignored or deflected because of its ownership by the controversial media, you know, magnate Rupert Murdoch.

SIEGEL: OK, David. Thank you very much.

FOLKENFLIK: You bet.

SIEGEL: NPR's David Folkenflik speaking with us about the winners of the Pulitzer Prize. They were announced today. And we leave you with the work of one more winner in the category for music. Caroline Shaw won for her composition "Partita for 8 Voices." Here's a little bit of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PARTITA FOR 8 VOICES")

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