The New York Times received five Pulitzer prizes Monday for investigative, breaking news and international reporting, feature photography and criticism, leading a field of smaller newspapers in the most coveted awards in the US news industry.
In a year in which online publishers were allowed to compete for the first time, the strength of the award winners showed that journalism still offered tremendous value even as it faces a financial meltdown, said Columbia University, which awards the prizes.
The only online outlet to get a mention was politifact.com, a section of the St. Petersburg Times, which was recognized for its fact-checking project of candidates' assertions in the US presidential campaign.
"The watchdog still barks. The watchdog still bites," said Sid Gissler, administrator of the prizes. "Who would be doing this day-to-day if we didn't have newspapers?"
The Las Vegas Sun won the prestigious public-service prize for reporting on the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas strip, while the Los Angeles Times won for explanatory reporting on the growing cost and threat of wildfires.
The New York Times prizes included awards for photography of Barack Obama on the campaign trail and for uncovering the sex scandal that led to the resignation of New York Governor Elliot Spitzer. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post won the commentary prize for his columns on the election campaign of Barack Obama.
The prize for fiction went to Elizabeth Strout, whose book "Olive Kitteridge" is a collection of stories centred on coastal Maine. The history prize went to Annette Gordon-Reed's "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family", about slaves owned by President Thomas Jefferson.
Playwright Lynn Nottage won the drama prize for "Ruined", a hard-hitting rape drama set in a Congolese brothel. Douglas Blackmon won the general non-fiction prize for "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II", while the biography prize went to Jon Meacham's "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House".