NEW YORK -- The staffs of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and The Sun Herald of south Mississippi each captured a Pulitzer Prize for public service yesterday for chronicling the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina despite life-changing damage to their own homes and workplaces.
Tears flowed rather than champagne in the Times-Picayune newsroom, which the staff had to evacuate just eight months earlier for about six weeks. At The Sun Herald, staff members cheered and fought back tears.
The Sun Herald won for its ''valorous and comprehensive coverage . . . providing a lifeline for devastated readers" and The Times-Picayune for its ''heroic, multifaceted coverage" to ''serve an inundated city even after evacuation of the newspaper plant," the Pulitzer citation said.
In the arts categories, the fiction prize went to ''March," Geraldine Brooks's novel imagining the life of the father in Louisa May Alcott's ''Little Women," and the general nonfiction prize went to Caroline Elkins for ''Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya." The Pulitzer board declined to award a prize for drama.
The Times-Picayune staff was awarded a second Pulitzer, for breaking news, for Katrina, and The Dallas Morning News was honored ''for its vivid photographs depicting the chaos and pain" of the disaster.
In the Times-Picayune newsroom, editor in chief Jim Amoss said, ''As our city was being ravaged and our citizens were dying . . . we came together as a team and fulfilled a mission that is sacred to us."
The Sun Herald's executive editor, Stan Tiner, dedicated the Pulitzer to the residents ''whose magnificent hearts and spirit moved us every day that we have been privileged to tell the story of their struggle and triumphs."
At The Washington Post, Susan Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi, and R. Jeffrey Smith won the investigative reporting Pulitzer for stories on the Jack Abramoff scandal; David Finkel won for explanatory reporting on the US government's attempt to bring democracy to Yemen; Dana Priest won the beat reporting category for stories on secret prisons and the government's counterterrorism campaign; and Robin Givhan won for ''her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism."
James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the Times and the staffs of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service won for national reporting -- the Times for stories on the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping, the Union-
Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley of the Times won the award for international reporting for coverage of China's legal system.
The Pulitzer for commentary went to Nicholas D. Kristof of the Times for focusing attention on genocide in Darfur.