NEW YORK — The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal each won two Pulitzers on Monday, and The Washington Post was awarded the 1999 prize for public service.
The AP won the two photography awards, the first time staff members of the same organization have swept the photo categories. In 1974, the AP won both photo Pulitzers, one for a picture by a staff member and the other by a free-lancer whose work the AP distributed.
The prize for commentary went to Maureen Dowd of the Times for columns on President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. The Times staff, notably Jeff Gerth, won for national reporting for a series that disclosed the sale of American technology to China despite national security risks.
“To paraphrase Monica Lewinsky’s favorite poet, T.S. Eliot, April is the coolest month,” Ms. Dowd said. “My reaction is I’m just so grateful to President Clinton that he never spoke the words, ‘Young lady, pull down that jacket and get back to the typing pool.’ ”
The Wall Street Journal won for international reporting for coverage of the Russian financial crisis. The Journal’s Angelo Henderson won the feature writing category for his portrait of a druggist driven to violence by his encounters with armed robbers.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Bob Davis, a member of the Journal’s international reporting team. “It was a team effort in covering the meltdown in Russia, of which I was a small part.”
The AP won the spot news photography award for a portfolio on the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. It won for feature photography for a collection of photographs of the events surrounding Clinton’s affair with Ms. Lewinsky and his impeachment. The AP has won nine Pulitzers in the past nine years, including eight for photography.
“We couldn’t be happier or more proud,” said Louis D. Boccardi, AP president and chief executive officer.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s just a tremendous tribute to the staff,” said Vin Alabiso, AP vice president and executive photo editor. “We are definitely getting out the champagne!”
Maine photographer Bob Bukaty contributed to the winning feature package with a photo of the “Jumbotron” screen in New York’s Times Square as President Clinton’s testimony was being released. The photo shows a technician in a cherry picker working on the screen.
Bukaty, 37, who has been a photographer with the Associated Press in Maine since 1993, traveled to Washington and New York to work with the national photo staff on the impeachment proceedings.
Bukaty said he was surprised when he got the news that he had won on his cell phone as he was traveling to Augusta in his car. “I was shocked. I had to pull over,” he said.
The Post won the public service award for a series on reckless gunplay by city police officers.
The prize for explanatory reporting went to Richard Read of The Oregonian of Portland for showing the impact of the Asian economic crisis on a local french fries exporter. When word reached The Oregonian newsroom that business reporter Richard Read had won for the four-part series titled “The French Fry Connection,” a brass band played and the 350 staffers washed down hundreds of orders of McDonald’s fries with champagne.
“It’s a riot in here right now,” Executive Editor Peter Bhatia said.
The prize for criticism went to Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune for his coverage of architecture, including a series on the development of Chicago’s lakefront. His work originally was entered in that category, but was moved by jurors to beat reporting and then moved back to criticism by the Pulitzer board.
The beat reporting prize went to the Los Angeles Times’ Chuck Philips and Michael Hiltzik for stories on corruption in the entertainment industry.
The prize for breaking news reporting was awarded to The Hartford Courant for coverage of a shooting rampage in which a lottery worker killed four supervisors and himself.
“The winning of this award really validates what we all knew: This is the best newsroom in the country,” Publisher Marty Petty told the staff. She then asked for a moment of silence in memory of those slain.
“Everybody at the Courant would gladly give this award back if we could bring one of these people back,” said John Springer, who was a reporter in the New Britain bureau at the time of the shootings and one of the first journalists on the scene.
The Miami Herald won for investigative reporting for exposing pervasive voter fraud in the city’s mayoral election that was later overturned.
The New York Daily News won for editorial writing for its campaign to rescue Harlem’s Apollo Theatre from mismanagement.
The editorial cartooning prize went to David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The Pulitzers, the most prestigious awards given for journalism, are presented annually by Columbia University. The awards carry a prize of $5,000, except for public service. The winning newspaper of that category gets a gold medal.