NEW YORK (AP) - The Washington Post won three Pulitzer Prizes yesterday, including the public service award for the second year in a row.
The Wall Street Journal took two honors, and the Associated Press won for investigative reporting on the killing of civilians by U.S. troops at the start of the Korean War.
Denver's two daily newspapers each won a Pulitzer for their coverage of the massacre at Columbine High School, which has symbolized America's gun-violence epidemic. The staff of The Denver Post won for breaking news reporting and the Denver Rocky Mountain News photo staff won the spot news photography award.
Sam Roe of The Blade and Kurt Eichenwald and Gina Kolata of The New York Times were named finalists in the investigative reporting category.
Mr. Roe, a senior writer for The Blade, was a finalist for his six-part series "Deadly Alliance,'' which exposed a 50-year pattern of misconduct by the U.S. government and the American beryllium industry - wrongdoing that caused the injuries and deaths of dozens of workers producing the strategic metal. Among the findings: Government and industry officials knowingly allowed thousands of workers to be exposed to unsafe levels of beryllium dust.
The Blade series has sparked major safety reforms, numerous lawsuits, and two congressional investigations, and was instrumental in a historic admission by the federal government, which, for the first time, acknowledged that it had harmed Cold War weapon workers. The Clinton administration has asked Congress to compensate these victims - a request that has resulted in three bills now before Congress.
The New York Times was a finalist for reporting that disclosed how pharmaceutical companies secretly paid doctors to test drugs on patients.
Carol Guzy, Michael Williamson, and Lucian Perkins of The Washington Post won the feature photography award for covering the plight of the Kosovo refugees. The winning images included a heartbreaking picture of a little boy being untangled from a barbed wire fence he was trying to climb.
Washington Post reporters won two other Pulitzers: in public service for stories exposing neglect and abuse in local group homes for the mentally retarded, and in the criticism category for Henry Allen's writing about photography.
The public service prize marks the first time in the history of the award dating to 1918 that any paper has won that category twice running. Last year the Post won for a series on reckless gunplay by poorly trained police that showed that officers in the nation's capital had shot and killed more people per capita in the 1990s than any other large American police force.
This year's winning stories forced officials to acknowledge the conditions in the group homes and begin reforms.
The Wall Street Journal's two prizes were for national reporting on U.S. defense spending and military deployment in the post-Cold War era and for commentary for Paul Gigot's columns on politics and government.
The Associated Press won for uncovering the alleged killing by U.S. troops of hundreds of civilians in the South Korean village of No Gun Ri. In interviews with veterans and survivors, AP Special Correspondent Charles J. Hanley, reporters Martha Mendoza and Sang-hun Choe confirmed accounts of the mass shooting, which dates to 1950, the first year of the Korean War.
The Village Voice won the international reporting prize for Mark Schoofs' series on the AIDS crisis in Africa.
The award for explanatory reporting went to Eric Newhouse of the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune for stories on alcohol abuse and the problems it causes locally from cradle to grave.
George Dohrmann of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press won for beat reporting for stories about academic fraud in the University of Minnesota men's basketball program. The paper persisted in running the stories despite negative reaction from readers.
The award for editorial writing went to John C. Bersia of The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel for his editorials against predatory lending practices in the state. Joel Pett of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader won for editorial cartooning.
Each winner receives $5,000, except for the public service award, which earns the winning paper a gold medal.