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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

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.

NPR's Neda Ulaby tells us about this year's winners.

NEDA ULABY: The Wall Street Journal won two Pulitzers, 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.

Mr. BRETT BLACKLEDGE (Birmingham News; Won Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting): All my life I have read just remarkable Pulitzer material that is sort of magical and mythical in its presentation, and you as a reporter think, you know, have we never be able to do that. This was a very sort of basic nuts and bolts reporting job. And I think that is what is so extraordinary to me. This is what 98 percent of us do everyday.

ULABY: The New York Times won a Pulitzer in features for its look at a Muslim cleric in Brooklyn, and the Los Angeles Times won an explanatory Pulitzer for its series on environmental threats to oceans. Meanwhile, Wolf 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.

(Soundbite of online cartoons)

Mr. WOLF HANDELSMAN (Cartoonist, Newsday): Do you already miss the election season? Well now, you can relieve those magic moments when our nation was rocked around the clock with the midterms greatest hits - with Nancy Pelosi belting out her classic...

(singing) I found my thrill, on Capitol Hill...

ULABY: For a work of non-fiction, the winner was 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.

Mr. HANK KLIBANOFF (Co-Author, "The Race Beat"): The black reporters were the first on the scene anywhere. They had a view of the black thought and the black community feeling about civil rights that white reporters did not venture to find out.

ULABY: 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. Here's a reading.

TOM COLE: (Reading) They set out through the dark woods. There was a moon somewhere beyond the ashen overcast and they could just make up the trees. They staggered on like drunks. If they find us, they'll kill us, won't they, papa? Shhh, no more talking. Won't they, papa? Shhh. Yes, yes, they will.

ULABY: 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.

Mr. DAVID LINDSAY-ABAIRE (Author, "Rabbit Hole"): I spoke to a lot of parents who had lost children, who came to see the play - some of them knowing what it was about, some of them not knowing. They said the play really spoke to them in an honest way. I've been hearing from these people who have gone through it, they said that's what it was to them. And so that meant more than anything to me.

ULABY: The Pulitzer for music went to saxophonist, composer and pioneer of free jazz, Ornette Coleman.

(Soundbite of jazz music "Sound Grammar")

ULABY: Coleman won for his recent recording "Sound Grammar." He just turned 77.

Neda Ulaby, NPR News.

(Soundbite of jazz music "Sound Grammar")

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Here's an update on the main story of the day. The massacre at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. According to the police and the university president, around 7:15 this morning, two students were killed in a dorm; then about two hours later and all the way across campus, a massive shooting in a classroom building killed dozens more. Now, there are questions about that two-hour lag between the incidents, and why the campus wasn't alerted more completely to the possibility of danger during that time.

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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