If they gave out Pulitzers for editing, Susan White, who left The San Diego Union-Tribune in 2007, would have collected her second yesterday.
White is now in New York at ProPublica, the online investigative site, where she edited Sheri Fink’s story that claimed a Pulitzer for investigative reporting. This is the first time an online site has won journalism’s top honor.
Fink’s story was about life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. It was co-published online and in The New York Times magazine.
Susan also played a big role in the Union-Tribune’s 2006 Pulitzer prize winning stories exposing former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. She literally had to fight to get some of these stories published. The next year she was gone.
I wrote about Susan in this 2007 story in the Voice of San Diego:
She is less well known but her departure would be an even bigger blow. White is a passionate, hard-working editor in charge of the enterprise team and also edits other stories that find their way onto the front page. She cares about every word and makes her reporters re-write their copy multiple times, which drives them crazy. Being reporters, they groan and moan, but they go along with it because the final product is much, much improved and White will fight to get a story into the paper. One veteran described her as the heart of the newsroom.
Also, kudos to Michael Moss who also won a Pulitzer for explanatory reporting yesterday for his stories about hamburgers and other tainted foods. He was my professor at Columbia Journalism School.