Explanatory Journalism

Finalists have been announced since 1980. Full texts, photographs and cartoons are available for Journalism winners from 1995–2015 only.


1997 Michael Vitez, reporter, and April Saul and Ron Cortes, photographers, of The Philadelphia Inquirer

For a series on the choices that confronted critically-ill patients who sought to die with dignity.

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1996 Laurie Garrett Newsday, Long Island, NY

For her courageous reporting from Zaire on the Ebola virus outbreak there. (The winner was entered and nominated in the International Reporting category and was moved by the Pulitzer Prize Board to Explanatory Journalism.)

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1995 Leon Dash, staff writer, and Lucian Perkins, photographer, of The Washington Post

For their profile of a District of Columbia family's struggle with destructive cycles of poverty, illiteracy, crime and drug abuse.

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1994 Ronald Kotulak Chicago Tribune

For his lucid coverage of current developments in neurological science.

1993 Mike Toner The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For "When Bugs Fight Back," a series that explored the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics and pesticides.

1992 Robert S. Capers and Eric Lipton Hartford (CT) Courant

For a series about the flawed Hubble Space Telescope that illustrated many of the problems plaguing America's space program.

1991 Susan C. Faludi The Wall Street Journal

For a report on the leveraged buy-out of Safeway Stores, Inc., that revealed the human costs of high finance.

1990 David A. Vise and Steve Coll The Washington Post

For stories scrutinizing the Securities and Exchange Commission and the way it has been affected by the policies of its former chairman, John Shad.

1989 David Hanners -reporter, William Snyder -photographer, and Karen Blessen -artist

For their special report on a 1986 airplane crash, the follow-up investigation, and the implications for air safety.

1988 Daniel Hertzberg and James B. Stewart The Wall Street Journal

For their stories about an investment banker charged with insider trading and the critical day that followed the October 19, 1987, stock market crash.

1987 Jeff Lyon and Peter Gorner Chicago Tribune

For their series on the promises of gene therapy, which examined the implications of this revolutionary medical treatment.

1986 Staff The New York Times

For a six-part comprehensive series on the Strategic Defense Initiative, which explored the scientific, political and foreign policy issues involved in "Star Wars."

1985 Jon Franklin The Baltimore Evening Sun

For his seven-part series "The Mind Fixers," about the new science of molecular psychiatry.


1997 John Crewdson Chicago Tribune

For a series of reports that illustrated through dramatic examples the need for training of personnel and installation of special equipment by U.S. airlines to cope with medical emergencies in the air.

1997 Gregory Kane and Gilbert Lewthwaite The Baltimore Sun

For their portrait of the complex practices of slavery in the Sudan.

1996 Michael A. Hiltzik, David R. Olmos and Barbara Marsh Los Angeles Times

For reporting on problems stemming from the lack of regulation in California's booming managed health care industry and the implications for the rest of the country.

1996 Chris Lester and Jeffrey Spivak The Kansas City Star

For their series on the impact of spreading suburban growth.

1996 Adam Bryant, Stephen Engelberg and Matthew L. Wald The New York Times

For their coverage of deficient safety regulation of commuter air traffic.

1995 Ron Suskind The Wall Street Journal

For his stories about inner-city honor students in Washington, D.C. and their determination to survive and prosper.

1995 Staff Montgomery (AL) Advertiser

For its probe of questionable management practices and self-interest at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation's best-endowed civil rights charity.

1994 Dallas Morning News Team The Dallas Morning News

For its series examining the epidemic of violence against women in many nations.

1994 Staff Newsday, Long Island, NY

For its exhaustive investigation of breast cancer in the community, which included a probe of the environmental factors that may contribute to its spread.

1993 Dennis Farney The Wall Street Journal

For "The American Civilization," a series of articles examining Jeffersonian ideals in contemporary America.

1993 Staff Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY

For its series about the inadequate medical care given New York state prison inmates.

1992 James O'Byrne, Mark Schleifstein and G. Andrew Boyd Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA

For "Louisiana in Peril," articles about the toxic waste and pollution that threaten the future of the state.

1992 Rob Carson, Geff Hinds and Suki Dardarian Morning News Tribune, Tacoma, WA

For comprehensive coverage of a controversial and ultimately unsuccessful special initiative on the state's 1991 ballot that would have granted terminally ill individuals the right to have a physician end their lives.

1991 Charles A. Hite The Roanoke Times & World-News

For insightful stories about life-and-death decisions at a local intensive care unit.

1991 Ronald Kotulak and Peter Gorner Chicago Tribune

For their series about the promises and quandaries of genetic research.

1990 Eric Nalder The Seattle Times

For a revealing series about oil-tanker safety and the failure of industry and government to adequately oversee the shipping of oil.

1990 Staff The Dallas Morning News

For a series about five "hidden wars" being waged around the world, primarily in Third World countries.

1990 Staff Times-Advocate, Escondido, CA

For its coverage of a shooting spree by a local mail carrier and the subsequent examination of the problems and stress faced by postal service workers.

1989 David Shaw Los Angeles Times

For his candid and thorough reporting on media practices and practitioners.

1989 Bernard Wysocki Jr. The Wall Street Journal

For stories about America's struggle to maintain its technological superiority over international competitors, especially Japan.

1988 Tim Weiner The Philadelphia Inquirer

For his series of reports on a secret Pentagon budget used by the government to sponsor defense research and an arms buildup.

1988 Athelia Knight The Washington Post

For her account of a year in the life of an urban high school, an in-depth portrait that examined many of the problems facing American education.

1987 Leon Dash The Washington Post

For his six-part series on teen-age pregnancy, which examined in compelling detail the complex realities behind a national problem.

1987 Georgia Tasker The Miami Herald

For her special report on the vanishing rain forest, which detailed the rapid destruction of one of the earth's oldest and most fragile ecosystems.

1986 Robert L. Hotz and Robert Cooke The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

For their series that examined new developments in genetic engineering and the legal, moral and social ramifications of biotechnology.

1986 Larry Batson Minneapolis Star and Tribune

For his seven-part series on the water crisis in America and his analysis of proposed remedies.

1985 Pam Sprague and Rob Orcutt Daily Herald, Wausau, WI

For a special section on Wausau's growing Indochinese refugee population, the Hmong.

1985 Staff Greensboro (NC) News & Record

For its series on the complex role tobacco plays in North Carolina.