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. “If we don’t do this work, if the Times doesn’t speak up, who will?”
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.
Times’ History of Pulitzer Prizes
2013 – Editorial Writing – Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth for helping reverse the decision to end fluoridation of water in Pinellas County.
2009 – National Reporting – the Times staff for PolitiFact, its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaign that used probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web to examine political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters.
2009 – Feature Writing – Lane DeGregory for her story about the discovery of a feral child shut off from the world until she was discovered and adopted by a supportive family.
1998 - Feature Writing – Thomas French for his detailed and compassionate narrative portrait of a mother and two daughters slain on a Florida vacation, and the three-year investigation into their murders.
1995 – Editorial Writing - Jeffrey Good for his editorial campaign urging reform of Florida's probate system for settling estates.
1991 - Feature Writing - Sheryl James for a compelling series about a mother who abandoned her newborn child and how it affected her life and those of others.
1985 – Investigative Reporting – Lucy Morgan and Jack Reed for thorough reporting on Pasco County Sheriff John Short, which revealed his department’s corruption and led to his removal from office by voters.
1980 – Meritorious Public Service - Bette Orsini and Charles Stafford for an investigation of the Church of Scientology.
1964 – Meritorious Public Service - The Times and writer Martin Waldron for coverage of the Florida Turnpike Authority and its reckless expenditure of public money.
About the Tampa Bay Times
The Tampa Bay Times is widely considered one of the Top Ten newspapers in America and has won nine Pulitzer Prizes. It is Florida’s largest newspaper, with an average circulation of 379,375 Sunday and 313,003 daily (ABC FAS-FAX September 2012). The Times is produced by the Times Publishing Company, which also publishes TampaBay.com - Tampa Bay’s largest local news Web site with 2.8 million unique visitors each month (Nielsen NetView six-month average for 07/12-12/12). Additionally, the company publishes the free daily tbt*, an edition of the Tampa Bay Times, tb-two*, a free paper written by Tampa Bay area students distributed to students, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning website, PolitiFact.com; and produces special events, specialty publications, and targeted advertising programs.