Capital Gazette staff members stayed silent and somberly exchanged hugs when the Maryland newspaper won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom.
Before the announcement, newspaper employees gathered in their newsroom to remember the five staff members who were shot and killed last June in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.“It’s definitely bittersweet,” said reporter. “Since it’s so connected to something so tragic, there was no euphoric pop-off of excitement.”
“No one wants to win an award for something that kills five of your friends.”
The Capital Gazette, based in the Maryland capital city of Annapolis, published on schedule the day after the shooting attack that claimed five staffers’ lives. It was one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.
The man charged in the attack had a longstanding grudge against the paper. Mr Hutzell, as editor of Capital Gazette Communications, said the paper had submitted entries for five categories, including a joint entry with The Baltimore Sun for breaking news. Although the Gazette didn’t win in any of those five categories, the Pulitzer board awarded it the special citation and an extraordinary $100,000 bequest to further its journalism. The Pulitzer board said the citation honours the journalists, staff and editorial board of the newspaper “for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in US history in their newsroom” and for an “unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief”. Mr Hutzell said he thought the Pulitzer board handled its decision admirably.“Clearly, there were a lot of mixed feelings,” He also said the paper was aware it would be facing stiff competition.“It’s very difficult when you are reporting in some ways on yourself,” he said. “That’s not what we do. We’re behind the camera, not in front of it.”