The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, has won the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service, considered one of the highest honors in journalism, for its remarkable series on domestic abuse, Till Death Do Us Part.
As The Post and Courier editors wrote in a nomination letter to the Pulitzer committee, the series of stories “shamed lawmakers into action by exposing South Carolina as a state where more than 300 women had died in a decade’s time while its leaders did little to stem the violence. It’s a state where domestic abusers face a maximum of 30 days behind bars for brutalizing a wife or girlfriend but up to five years in prison for cruelty to a dog.”
Post and Courier staff members Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Natalie Caula Hauff were singled out for their work. The project also was reported for TV by Bill Burr of WCIV, the ABC affiliate in Charleston.
The series grew out of a collaboration with The Center for Investigative Reporting, which helped form a consortium with the University of South Carolina and WCIV to jointly produce the project on multiple platforms. CIR’s former editorial director, Mark Katches, helped edit and manage the project. Jennifer LaFleur, CIR’s senior for data journalism, and her team assisted The Post and Courier in analyzing and vetting the state and national data that helped put individual stories of abuse into a broader context.
“From the beginning of our reporting, we worked to show domestic violence was not a problem isolated to a particular group or economic class,” Post and Courier Executive Editor Mitch Pugh wrote in his letter to the Pulitzer judges. “We took care to highlight victims and stories that demonstrated domestic abuse was a societal problem, cutting across all walks of life and generations.”
Also today, the NPR-PRX show “State of the Re:Union” was honored with a Peabody Award. Three Reveal staff members – radio show host Al Letson and producers Delaney Hall and Laura Starecheski – were part of the winning team.
The Peabody judges wrote: “The great news about (‘State of the Re:Union’) is that it purveys good news – not soft, sugarcoated features but grassroots reporting that demonstrates how everyday people, both rural and urban, are figuring out ways to tackle their communities’ problems.”