Dear Commons Community,
The Huffington Post’s senior military correspondent David Wood has spent decades covering war, watching as wounded combat troops are loaded onto medical evacuation helicopters and, he said, “go off in a cloud of dust.” But after their sacrifice on the battlefield, Wood said, “you never know what happened to them.”
So for eight months this past year, Wood reported extensively on the lives of severely wounded veterans and their families in “Beyond the Battlefield”, a 10-part series awarded Monday with the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting. Wood’s Pulitzer marks the first win for the seven-year-old Huffington Post and a milestone in the influential Pulitzer committee’s recognition of online-only news organizations. The Huffington Post’s editor Timothy O’Brien stated:
“This Pulitzer is a recognition of decades of dedicated, courageous work by David Wood, and of the great insight and sensitivity he’s brought to the plight of severely wounded soldiers and the very human tragedy of modern warfare,”… “We’re also grateful that the Pulitzer committee recognized that great, hard-won journalism can thrive and flourish on the web.”
In addition to the recognition for Wood’s work, this award also is important for new media. Media observers said the Pulitzer committee’s recognition of The Huffington Post represents a milestone for the organization and digital news outlets in general.
Rem Rieder, editor of the American Journalism Review, said the award is “quite a benchmark in the evolution of The Huffington Post, which early on, had plenty of aggregation and plenty of opinion and no original reporting.” He specifically praised the hiring of Wood, saying that it’s “terrific that there are emerging newish outlets where not only talented young reporters, but experienced older reporters, have the chance to showcase ambitious work.”
“I think it’s very healthy to see the Pulitzers have moved, albeit slowly, from a solely print focus,” Rieder said. “The world has changed dramatically. There’s an awful lot of exciting developments with digital news operations.”
Indeed there is!