Sheri Fink’s report on doctors at a New Orleans hospital in the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, made for the New York Times Magazine, became the first ever collaborative story to win a Pulitzer.
The award was shared with Barbara Laer and Wendy Ruderman from the Philadelphia Daily News for their exposÃ© of a rogue police narcotics squad that resulted in an FBI probe and the review of hundreds of criminal cases.
Despite the win ProPublica was overshadowed by the National Enquirer which, despite not winning an award, was still making headlines over its controversial nomination.
The Enquirer was shortlisted for a Pulitzer for its coverage of former presidential candidate John Edward’s extra-marital affair.
The tabloid ran a series of articles the mainstream press failed to cover, on Edward’s relationship with a videomaker, revealing that in 2007 they had a child together.
In a night of firsts, Mark Fiore, of the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, collected the award for editorial cartooning. The prize marked the first time an internet-only work had been recognised by the awarding commitee.
Convention was restored, however, as the Washington Post collected four awards, winning for international reporting, feature writing, commentary and criticism awards.
The New York Times won three; National reporting, explanatory reporting and investigative reporting.
Michael Moss and other members of The New York Times staff picked up the explanatory reporting award for their coverage on food safety issues that identified holes in federal regulation and led to improved practise.
The Seattle Times picked up the award for Breaking News for its coverage of the shooting and deaths of four police officers in a coffee shop.
The local reporting prize went to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a series of stories on fraud and abuse in a childcare programme for poor working parents. The stories resulted in a state and federal crackdown on providers.
The editorial writing award went to three staff from the Dallas Morning News for editorials documenting the stark social contrast between richer North Dallas and poor Southern Dallas.
The Pulitzer prizes are awarded every year by Colombia University to honour the best individuals and publications in different categories of journalism, literature and music in the US.