Top Journalist Who Won Pulitzer Laid Off

By DEEPTI HAJELA and DANIEL MACHT
|  Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009  |  Updated 9:33 AM EDT
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Top Journalist Who Won Pulitzer Laid Off

"It is kind of sad," a Pulitzer winner told the AP. "I wish I was still at the Tribune. I'd have a party with them right now."

A top journalist won a Pulitzer this year, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in news gathering, but that wasn't enough to save his job.

Phoenix-based reporter Paul Giblin and his editor were laid off in October after turning in a five-part series for the East Valley Tribune on Sheriff Joe Arapaio's illegal immigration crusade. Their stories won journalism's top prize, but the two now work for lower pay on a new Web site that covers Arizona politics and government, Portfolio.com reported.

"It is kind of sad," Giblin told the AP. "I wish I was still at the Tribune. I'd have a party with them right now."

The awards were announced after one of the most depressing years ever for the newspaper industry, with layoffs, bankruptcies and closings brought on by the recession and an exodus of readers and advertisers to the Internet. Many of Monday's winners were among the hardest hit.

The New York Times received five Pulitzers in all, including one for being the first to report that then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer was a client of a high-priced call girl ring — a discovery that led to his resignation. The Detroit Free Press won for obtaining a cache of steamy text messages that destroyed then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's political career.

But in a surprising turn, not one prize was handed out for the other big story of 2008 — the financial meltdown. Some suggested it could be a criticism of the press for not sounding enough of a warning before the crisis.

"If I had to guess, I feel like there is going to be some reluctance to give prizes for after-the-fact reporting no matter how good it is, period," said Dean Starkman, managing editor of Columbia Journalism Review's The Audit, which focuses on the business press.

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