The Tampa Bay Times today won journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize, for Editorial Writing.
The 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing was awarded to editor of editorials Tim Nickens and columnist Dan Ruth for their editorials that helped reverse the decision to end fluoridation of the water in Pinellas County.
“The Times’ editorial page led the campaign for public health and common sense, and this Pulitzer Prize recognizes the way newspapers can make a big difference in their communities,” said Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash.
This is the ninth Pulitzer Prize for the Times and the second in the editorial writing category. It is the first Pulitzer Prize under the new banner, Tampa Bay Times. In 2012, the Times changed the name of the paper from the St. Petersburg Times to better reflect the community it already had been serving.
“This is gratifying recognition that journalism makes a difference in people’s lives,” said Times Editor Neil Brown.
“Through clear and forceful editorials, Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth went to bat for hundreds of thousands of people, many of them poor, who were being deprived a chance at better health,” Brown said.
Two other entries from the Times were finalists. Brown said it was a great honor for Alexandra Zayas to be a finalist for investigative journalism and for Kelley Benham to be a finalist in feature writing. Zayas wrote “In God’s Name,” a series uncovering abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes in Florida. Benham wrote “Never Let Go,” a first-person account of the decision to fight for the life of her premature baby.
“There are three things that run through all of this work — the tremendous talent of the journalists, the support of a great institution even in tight times, and the core belief on the part of everyone at the Times that journalism matters today as much as ever,” Brown said.