Pulitzer on the Road in Madison: Journalists Corey Johnson and Raquel Rutledge

On March 28, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin, the Pulitzer Prizes highlighted local reporting with the launch of our new Pulitzer on the Road program. A new series of live events, Pulitzer on the Road will enable the public to engage with Pulitzer-winning authors and journalists at venues around the country while hearing the stories behind their revelatory work.

The first event celebrated Pulitzer-winning and -nominated local reporting by bringing 2022 Investigative Reporting winner Corey G. Johnson and 2010 Local Reporting winner/2022 Public Service finalist contributor Raquel Rutledge to Madison, Wisconsin for a discussion centered around one of the most vital functions of local journalism: protecting the health and safety of workers and residents in communities throughout the United States. This kind of local reporting reveals how the most vulnerable people in our communities are often affected by legal violations, lack of administrative oversight and public corruption.

They were joined on stage by Tampa resident Tomika Brown, whose family's exposure to dangerous levels of lead was an integral component of Johnson's team's winning portfolio, a Tampa Bay Times investigation of Florida's only battery recycling plant; and Clarence Murrell Jr. III, who lost his father in one of the Milwaukee fires (caused by negligence over faulty electrical wiring) that were subsequently documented by Rutledge and her Milwaukee Journal Sentinel colleagues in their nominated entry. (Johnson has since joined ProPublica as an investigative reporter, while Rutledge is now investigations editor of The Examination.) Tenants' rights attorney Justin Padway and environmental engineer Sterlin Woodard (then affiliated with the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission) also participated. The conversation was moderated by Pulitzer Prize Administrator Marjorie Miller.

Of the Pulitzer on the Road initiative, Miller said, "We want to engage new audiences in the Pulitzer mission, particularly at local and state levels."

Over the past century, Pulitzer Prize-winning local journalism has continually exposed shortcomings of governance and institutional abuse. From Malcolm Johnson's seminal 1948 coverage of Manhattan’s waterfront rackets to 2018 staff reporting from The Advocate in Baton Rouge that prompted the repeal of a Jim Crow-era state jury law, these projects have embodied the enduring vitality of the First Amendment. 

To view a recording of the discussion, click the YouTube window above or visit the Pulitzer Prizes' YouTube channel. Thank you to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for filming the event.

Related

Read Marjorie Miller's March 12 interview with the Wisconsin State Journal here.

Watch Miller's conversation with As Goes Wisconsin here.