Jun 27, 2022 - News

Seattle shines during pandemic-postponed Pulitzer event

Pulitzer awards New York City Seattle Times reporters
Baker, Kamb, Miletich and Gates. Photo: Lewis Kamb/Axios

👋 Lewis here.

I was grateful to join my former Seattle Times colleagues on Saturday for a long-delayed ceremony to receive the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for our coverage of the Boeing 737 Max crisis.

Details: Led by intrepid aviation beat reporter Dominic Gates, who spearheaded the newspaper's coverage, our team of Mike Baker, now The New York Times' Seattle bureau chief; Steve Miletich, since retired, and yours truly, now with Axios, traveled to New York to attend the event.

Why it matters: The Pulitzer Prizes, considered the highest honor in journalism, are typically announced in April and awarded in June during a luncheon at Columbia University.

  • But in 2020, we watched the awards doled out over a Zoom call from the confines our own homes, and then waited ... waited ... and waited to celebrate.
  • As it turned out, ceremonies for both the 2020 and 2021 classes were postponed due to the pandemic.
  • Saturday's event finally allowed prize winners for both classes an in-person ceremony to mark the distinction of their work.

State of play: COVID precautions still loomed large, with proof of vaccination or a negative test result required upon entry.

  • The traditional luncheon was yanked and replaced by a post-ceremony cocktail reception outdoors.

Yes but: Not to be denied a proper celebration of his family newspaper's 11th Pulitzer Prize, Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen treated a large contingent of employees on hand to a steak dinner in midtown Manhattan.

Meanwhile, we weren't the only journalists with Seattle ties honored Saturday.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected by removing a paragraph stating Colson Whitehead was in attendance at the Pulitzer Prize ceremony, and that he won his second award in fiction. Whitehead earned his third Pulitzer for fiction in 2020.

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