The 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Explanatory Reporting

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For a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation, in print or online or both, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times for their fresh and painstaking exploration into the cost and effectiveness of attempts to combat the growing menace of wildfires across the western United States.


Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart

Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University, presents the 2009 Explanatory Reporting prize to Julie Cart (center) and Bettina Boxall of the Los Angeles Times.


Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Adam Liptak of The New York Times for his lucid exposition of how the cornerstones of the American judicial system differ from those in other democratic nations, awakening readers to the benefits and drawbacks of those differences; and Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post for their vivid, richly documented explanation of why AIG, the insurance industry giant, nearly collapsed and what lessons the crisis holds for the nation’s policymakers.