New York, N.Y., July 1, 2014 – Mike Pride, the former editor of the Concord Monitor who led his small New Hampshire newspaper to national prominence and served as co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, has been named administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.
The appointment, effective Sept. 1, was announced by the Pulitzer Board and by Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, where the prestigious prizes in journalism, letters, drama and music are administered.
Pride succeeds Sig Gissler, 78, former editor of The Milwaukee Journal and Columbia Journalism School faculty member, who will retire Aug. 1 after 12 years as administrator.
Pride, 67, became editor of the Monitor in 1983 after serving as managing editor. Under his leadership the Monitor won the New England Newspaper of the Year Award 19 times, as well as numerous national awards for excellence. The paper was cited by Time magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the best papers in the country. In 2008, the Monitor won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
"Mike Pride is the ideal candidate to take the Pulitzer Prizes into their next phase," said Danielle Allen, a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the Pulitzer Board chair who led the search committee that tapped Pride. "He is committed to a free press and community journalism as pillars of democracy. He is a warm person of sound judgment and inspiring creativity. His deep experience with the Prizes equips him brilliantly to help us navigate the new while also steering a course true to our original values."
President Bollinger, whose father was a small town newspaper publisher in Oregon and California, said: "There’s no greater honor for Columbia, where our Journalism School was founded by Joseph Pulitzer, than to administer the iconic prizes he also established here nearly a century ago for excellence in American journalism, arts and letters. In Mike Pride, the Pulitzer Board has found a worthy successor to the admired Sig Gissler. Mike has not only been a member and chair of the Board, but the Concord Monitor earned its own Pulitzer during his extraordinary editorial leadership. We much look forward to welcoming him to our campus community in the years ahead."
In addition to Allen and Bollinger, the search committee consisted of Pulitzer Board members Paul Gigot, editorial page editor, The Wall Street Journal, and Steve Coll, dean of the Journalism School; Paul Tash, chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times, the immediate past chair of the Pulitzer Board; and Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, a former Board member who served as counsel to the committee.
Pride joined the Pulitzer Board in 1999 and served as co-chair in 2008, his final year on the body. He also served four times as a Pulitzer juror, twice as a jury chair. "I am deeply honored to have been chosen as administrator," Pride said. "I will serve the Pulitzer Board in every way possible to carry out its mission of identifying and celebrating excellence in American journalism, arts and letters.” (See appended full statement by Pride.)
Pride retired from the Monitor in 2008 but returned in 2014 to serve briefly as editor during a management transition. He retired again in May of 2014 but still writes columns for the paper.
A graduate of the University of South Florida, Pride served as a Russian linguist in the Army during the late 1960s. He began his journalism career as a sports writer at the Tampa Tribune and later served as city editor of the Clearwater Sun and the Tallahassee Democrat. Pride, a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, has won numerous awards. In 1987, he was named the National Press Foundation's Editor of the Year for directing the Monitor's coverage of the Challenger disaster and death of New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe. In 1997, Pride won the Yankee Quill Award for contributions to New England journalism.
A lover of history and poetry, Pride is the co-author of My Brave Boys, a Civil War history, and Too Dead to Die, the memoir of a Bataan Death March survivor. Pride has taught a presidential politics course at Gettysburg College and has also been a lecturer and tour guide at the college's Civil War Institute. In 2005, 2008 and 2010 he was a Hoover Media Fellow at Stanford University.
A former chairman of the Small Newspapers Committee of the American Society of News Editors, Pride also served on the society’s writing awards board. He is a member of the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award committee at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Edward (Bud) Kliment, who has been deputy administrator since 1994, will serve as acting administrator during the month before Pride begins his tenure on Sept. 1.
The administrator's office works with the Board on a wide range of activities, including selection of juries, prize deliberations, committee work and arranging the twice-annual meetings of the Board, which chooses the winners each April.
The Pulitzer Prizes were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.
The 19-member Pulitzer Board is composed mainly of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia's journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are nonvoting members. The chair rotates annually to the most senior member or members. The board is self-perpetuating in the election of members. Voting members may serve three terms of three years for a total of nine years.
STATEMENT BY MIKE PRIDE
New administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes
July 1, 2014
I am deeply honored to have been chosen as administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. I will serve the Pulitzer Board in every way possible to carry out its mission of identifying and celebrating excellence in American journalism, arts and letters and music. I look forward to the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzers in 2016 and the opportunity it provides both to reflect on the great work the prizes have rewarded and to spur conversation about what constitutes excellence as we look to the second 100 years.
For nine of my 30 years running the newsroom of the Concord Monitor, I served on the Board of the Pulitzer Prizes. It was one of the highlights of my career – an earnest, merit-based search each year for the very best in journalism, books, plays and musical compositions. In 2008, I left the Monitor for a new life as a historian, author, freelancer and blogger. The retirement of Sig Gissler as Pulitzer administrator opened one of the few jobs that seemed worthier to me than these happy pursuits.
In a rapidly changing social and technological age, the Pulitzer Prizes remain a beacon, defining and championing the values of a free press. I look forward to doing all in my power to keep their light strong.