The Story Behind the Sun Sentinel’s ‘Parkland’ Pulitzer Prize
Reporters discuss covering Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and its aftermath, holding officials accountable, and lessons learned
(EWA Radio: Episode 204)
Heartbreaking. Frightening. Infuriating. All those words apply to the remarkable coverage by the South Florida Sun Sentinel of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The newspaper’s reporting since the February 2018 killings earned journalism’s top award this year, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The newspaper pushed back on stonewalling by district leadership and public safety officials to uncover missed opportunities that might have mitigated — or even prevented — the school shooting that left 17 people dead and dozens more seriously injured. Longtime education reporter Scott Travis and data journalist Aric Chokey speak candidly about their memories of February 14, 2018, how the local newsroom rallied to take the lead on what became a national story, and what they learned in the past year when it comes to interviewing trauma survivors, mining public records, and why earning journalism’s top prize brought mixed emotions.