NPR’s very first Pulitzer brought a series of popping virtual champagne corks and heartfelt kudos across… well, NPR’s cyberspace corner.
“Congratulations to the Pulitzer winners. So deserved !!!!!” wrote Nina Totenberg, who doesn’t hand out exclamation points to just anyone.
NPR’s Pulitzer for Audio Reporting went to Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little for their “No Compromise” investigative podcast series on gun rights activists that shed light on the schism growing among American conservatives. He was one of two NPR finalists in the category; the other was for what the Pulitzer committee described as “courageous, on-the-ground reporting on the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and its implications around the world.”
“Thank you very much everyone,” wrote Graham Smith, senior producer and new Pulitzer winner. “And congratulations to the team who worked on the cover of Soleimani and put together this submission. Amazing job!”
“Kudos to Mary Louise Kelly, Jane Arraf, the team at Throughline and all of the many producers and editors who contributed to this list of covers,” added producer Becky Sullivan, who is no stranger to awarding herself .
“Huge smile around here and a huge CONGRATULATIONS from the Soleimani team!” Enthusiastic TAC host Mary Louise Kelly. “A pleasure to be beaten by the best in the business. Proud to work with all of you.”
In an emailed statement to the newsroom, Senior Vice President of News Nancy Barnes noted that this is the second year that the Pulitzer Prize has experimented with an audio category. “You may recall that NPR was a finalist last year for the White Lies podcast,” she wrote. “Today’s recognition highlights the investments we’ve made in in-depth reporting, long storytelling and collaboration between NPR and our member stations. Normally we would toast to champagne in the newsroom today. ; we will immediately get to work on a plan to celebrate the Pulitzer Prize and all the great work we have done over the past year, including our recent Gracie Prize winners. “
“I took a shot of tequila with a teddy bear on the wall,” Lisa Hogan, the new Pulitzer winner, said on a phone call. “I’m in Alaska. I didn’t know this was happening. I take time to fish.”
Hogan, who works with NPR’s Atlanta affiliate WABE, says one of the most significant calls came from Alex Goldmark, Planet Money’s senior supervising producer. “He was my radio teacher at CUNY School of Journalism and I felt so proud to be his student. He’s super happy.”
“What a great tribute to audio journalism,” added Ron Elving, editor of the Washington Desk, a gray eminence in the newsroom. “To the NPR teamwork, to the multiplatform cooperation and to the partnership between stations. And what a proud day for anyone who is NPR or who loves NPR, or both.”