This year’s Pulitzer Prizes once again highlight the importance of local, independent news outlets and why they must be saved.

Local and regional news outlets received six of the 16 journalism prizes announced Monday. Their work included stories revealing wrongdoing by local and state officials, holding them to account and prompting change.

That service benefits everyone in those regions and beyond, regardless of where they get news.

The reporting, and attention it’s receiving, puts officials on alert that they may be scrutinized — at least in the dwindling number of cities and counties that still have local reporters and outlets doing investigations.

“If there was one theme that stood out among the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes, it’s that local journalism can still make a difference in the lives of everyday people,” Tom Jones wrote at

Birmingham-based won a local reporting prize for exposing how a small town police force “preyed on residents to inflate revenue, coverage that prompted the resignation of the police chief, four new laws and a state audit,” wrote


The blood-boiling stories seem lifted from a bad TV show.

“Brookside officers have been accused in lawsuits of fabricating charges, using racist language and ‘making up laws’ to stack counts on passersby,” reported. “Defendants must pay thousands in fines and fees — or pay for costly appeals to state court — and poorer residents or passersby fall into patterns of debt they cannot easily escape.” is the website taking the place of Alabama’s three major daily newspapers, which stopped printing in February. The site also won a Pulitzer for commentary, for Kyle Whitmire’s columns “that document how Alabama’s Confederate heritage still colors the present with racism and exclusion.”

Also winning for local reporting was a nonprofit news outlet, Mississippi Today. Reporter Anna Wolfe, who hails from Pierce County, “revealed how a former Mississippi governor used his office to steer millions of state welfare dollars to benefit his family and friends, including NFL quarterback Brett Favre.”

The Los Angeles Times, which was saved from hedge-fund hell by a local benefactor who returned it to local stewardship, won the Pulitzer for breaking news reporting. It revealed a secret conversation by city officials making racist comments, then doggedly tracked the resulting turmoil.

The prize for feature photography went to the L.A. Times’ Christina House for “an intimate look into the life” of a pregnant and homeless 22-year-old.

For editorial writing, the prize went to the Miami Herald for a series on Florida public officials who failed to deliver on promises made over decades.


The most prestigious of the awards, the Pulitzer for public service, went to The Associated Press for its “courageous reporting from the besieged city of Mariupol that bore witness to the slaughter of civilians in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

For the full list of winners and links to their work visit

Cathlamet transition: Another reminder of the value of local news came last week in Cathlamet, where residents lined Main Street on May 1 to welcome home Rick Nelson, publisher and editor of The Wahkiakum County Eagle.

Nelson, whose family has owned the weekly since 1963, was returning from lymphoma treatment to enter hospice care.

In a farewell column published April 27, Nelson thanked readers for their support, lamented the decline of local newspapers and said the Eagle may be sold but its future is unclear.

Sale talks are “in the works,” said Geri Florek, advertising and production manager. The family doesn’t want to sell to a hedge fund.


“Rick and the family do not want that to happen,” she said. “They want the Eagle to remain as it’s always been.”

Nelson, 72, told me he’s left the discussions to his family. One option could be a cooperative model, which has potential based on the support shown recently.

“The community really wants this and so they’ll come together,” he said.

Last week the paper mailed issues to 1,013 subscribers, which is impressive for a county that had 1,891 households in 2021, per the U.S. Census.

Among them is Paul Schreiber, who wrote a letter thanking Nelson and his family for years of providing “the information needed to make informed decisions about candidates in elections, letting us know what the county commissioners and town council were doing, keeping us up to date with local sports, local business and the many things that happen to be going on in our community.”

“The Eagle always brought into the light what local government was doing, absent the paper I am concerned that local government will be operating in the dark,” he wrote.


Google pays, some: The Wall Street Journal reported that Google will pay The New York Times “around $100 million” over three years under a content and tech deal announced in February.

So Google believes it should pay for news content, just not content produced by regional and local outlets.

Pity the Google and Facebook shills who say the internet will break if tech giants have to pay for news, under policies such as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that would require the companies to negotiate with smaller outlets.

Also eviscerated are arguments that the JCPA mostly benefits huge companies. The biggest publishers, including the The New York Times and the Journal’s parent company, are getting paid now, regardless of JCPA.

“Small and local publications will never get paid at all unless there’s legislation,” said Danielle Coffey, executive vice president of the News Media Alliance trade group.