This year's Pulitzer Prizes were announced this afternoon by Columbia University in New York. The Pulitzers honor American achievements in journalism, letters, drama and music.
The Wall Street Journal won two Pulitzers, one prize in international reporting for its coverage of China, and a public service award for a probe into back-dated stock options for business executives.
Brett Blackledge of the Birmingham News won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting. His series, on corruption in Alabama's community-college system, is ongoing.
The New York Times won a features Pulitzer for its look at a Muslim cleric in Brooklyn, and the Los Angeles Times won an explanatory-journalism prize for its series on environmental threats to oceans. Meanwhile, Walt Handelsman of Newsday won his second Pulitzer for editorial cartoons. He animates his work, puts it online, and he does all of the voices himself.
For a work of nonfiction, the winner was The Race Beat, a book about the role of the press in the Civil Rights movement. Co-author Hank Klibanoff told NPR last year that Southern segregation was challenged first, and most bravely, by African-American reporters.
"The black reporters were the first on the scene anywhere," he said. "They had a view of the black thought and the black community feeling about civil rights that white reporters did not venture in to find out."
The Pulitzer for fiction went to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which follows the harrowing path of a father and son in a post-apocalyptic America. The primal fear of parents losing children was also the subject of this year's Pulitzer winner in drama: David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the play Rabbit Hole, about parents mourning the accidental death of their 4-year-old son.
The Pulitzer for music went to saxophonist, composer and pioneer of free jazz, Ornette Coleman, who won for his recent recording Sound Grammar. He just turned 77.