3 for Philadelphia Inquirer : Times Wins 2 Pulitzers for Foreign Reports, Criticism

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Times won two Pulitzer Prizes on Thursday, for international reporting and criticism. Other multiple winners included the Philadelphia Inquirer, with three awards, and the New York Times and the Washington Post Writers Group, each with two.

In naming Michael Parks of the Los Angeles Times the winner for international reporting, the jurors praised "his balanced and comprehensive coverage of South Africa." Richard Eder, the other winner from The Times, was praised for "distinguished criticism . . . for his book reviews."

It was the third time in six years that The Times has won in the criticism category.

At his office in Boston, Eder, who also won the reviewing prize of the National Book Critics Circle for 1986, said: "I am very pleased and temporarily without words. When you sit all day in a room reading books, it's lovely to have the outside world bursting in with good news."

Parks, notified by telephone in South Africa, said: "I am delighted, excited and stunned. I am happy for the paper and for all my colleagues on the foreign staff."

The jury that selected Parks considered a broad variety of his stories, including the declaration of emergency by the South African government, the turmoil within South Africa's black community and the impact on South African blacks of announced government reforms.

The Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service was awarded to the Pittsburgh Press for articles disclosing the inadequacy of the Federal Aviation Administration's medical screening of airline pilots. The series by Andrew Schneider and Matthew Brelis "led to significant reforms," the Pulitzer Prize Board said. Schneider shared a Pulitzer Prize last year for specialized reporting.

In an unusual award, four Philadelphia Inquirer reporters shared two prizes in the investigative reporting category--for an expose of the Philadelphia court system and for outstanding prison beat reporting, which included proving innocent a man convicted of murder.

National Reporting

Two prizes also were awarded in the national reporting category. One went to the New York Times staff for its coverage of the aftermath of the Challenger explosion, which identified flaws in the design of the space shuttle and the administration of the space program. The other was awarded to the Miami Herald's staff for its "exclusive reporting and persistent coverage" of the Iran- contra connection.

Specialized Reporting

The other Pulitzer won by the New York Times went to Alex S. Jones for specialized reporting. The jurors praised Jones' article detailing the sale of the Louisville Courier-Journal as a "skillful and sensitive report of a powerful newspaper family's bickering and how it led to the sale of a famed media empire." Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post Writers Group won the commentary award "for his witty and insightful columns of national issues."

Berke Breathed, also of the Washington Post Writers Group, a syndicate, won the editorial cartooning award.

In non-journalistic prizes, the award for fiction was given to Peter Taylor for his book "A Summons to Memphis," which deals with memory and change in the Deep South as seen through the eyes of an aging intellectual. The drama prize went to August Wilson for his play "Fences," dealing with the breakup of a black working-class family in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression.

Prize for History

Bernard Bailyn, Winthrop professor of history at Harvard, won the prize for history for his book, "Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution." The work is the first in a series of books focusing on the first English settlers in America.

The biography award went to David J. Garrow, an associate political science professor at the City College of New York, for his portrait of the slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Garrow's book, "Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference," also received a 1987 Robert F. Kennedy Award. It is his third book about King.

David K. Shipler, a correspondent for the New York Times, won the nonfiction award for his book examining Mideast tensions--"Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land." The poetry prize was given to Rita Dove, who teaches at Arizona State University, for her work "Thomas and Beulah." The volume of lyric poems details the move of a black family in the Great Depression from rural Alabama to Akron, Ohio.

Harbison Wins Award

The music award went to John Harbison for "The Flight Into Egypt," which had its premiere last November by the Cantata Singers and Ensemble at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Harbison, who has conducted many orchestral and chamber ensembles including the San Francisco, Boston and Pittsburgh symphonies, is currently composer in residence with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The 71st annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced at Columbia University in New York City.

In the journalism category the staff of the Akron Beacon Journal won the general news reporting prize for its coverage under deadline pressure of the attempted takeover of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. by a European financier.

The award for feature writing went to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Steve Twomey for "his illuminating profile of life aboard an aircraft carrier." Twomey's article not only discussed the operation of the supercarrier America, but raised the issue of whether such ships remain an effective weapons system in the late 20th Century.

Series on Gene Therapy

Jeff Lyon and Peter Gorner of the Chicago Tribune won the explanatory journalism prize for their series examining the implications of gene therapy as a revolutionary medical treatment.

The editorial writing prize was awarded to Jonathan Freedman of the San Diego Tribune for his series of editorials urging passage of immigration reform.

In the photography category, Kim Komenich of the San Francisco Examiner won the spot news award for his photographic coverage of the fall of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines. The feature photography prize was given to David Peterson of the Des Moines Register for his pictures depicting the shattered dreams of American farmers.

John Woestendiek of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was praised for his outstanding prison beat reporting, was a finalist in the general news reporting category. The Pulitzer Prize Board moved his entry to the investigative reporting category, where he was awarded a prize.

Daniel R. Biddle, H.G. Bissinger and Fredric N. Tulsky of the Inquirer received the other investigative reporting prize for their scrutiny of the Philadelphia court system, leading to federal and state investigations.

Similarly, the Pulitzer Board moved the entry of the New York Times' Jones in the feature writing category, where he was a finalist, to the specialized reporting category, where he received the Pulitzer.

Special Citation Given

The board also gave a special citation to Joseph Pulitzer Jr. "for his extraordinary services to American journalism and letters" during his 31 years as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board and for his accomplishments as an editor and publisher. Pulitzer, 74, is the grandson of the publishing magnate in whose name the prizes were established.

Parks, 43, has been The Times' Johannesburg bureau chief since 1984. Before that he served as Beijing correspondent. A graduate of the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, he is married and has two children.

Last December, the South African government told Parks that his visa was not being extended. But later it decided to allow him to stay after discussions with Times Editor William F. Thomas and Foreign Editor Alvin Shuster.

Eder, 54, has been a book critic for The Times since 1982. He reviews twice a week and over the years has demonstrated, in the words of Times Book Editor Jack Miles, "an independence of spirit and precision and color in language that have attracted a growing following."

Eder joined the paper after a long career at the New York Times, which included serving as drama critic, a foreign correspondent and reporter in New York. A Harvard graduate, he is married and has seven children.

Eder is the third Los Angeles Times winner of the criticism award in the last six years. Martin Bernheimer received the 1981 award for his distinguished classical music criticism. Times television critic Howard Rosenberg won the prize three years later.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World