The New Yorker Wins Two Pulitzers in a First for Magazine Media
Kathryn Schulz and Emily Nussbaum win for Feature Writing and Criticism, respectively.
Updated at 4:14 pm on Monday, April 18, 2016.
The winners of the Pulitzer Prizes, recognizing the best in print (and digital) journalism, were announced for the 100th time today, but it was only the second year in which magazine media brands were eligible for the coveted honors.
Last year, in the first year of eligibility, no magazines brands won. That wasn't the case this year, as, perhaps unsurprisingly, The New Yorker has won the first ever Pulitzer Prizes to be bestowed upon a magazine brand.
The New Yorker's Kathryn Schulz received the prize for Feature Writing for her July 20 story, "The Really Big One," about an impending massive earthquake striking the Pacific Northwest.
Seconds later, another staffer at The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum, was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
"This year’s results are simply astounding––and a source of immense pride," wrote The New Yorker editor David Remnick in a memo to staff. "This is a day of celebration at The New Yorker, first and foremost for these writers, who are so deserving."
Magazine brands were eligible in four additional categories: International Reporting, Investigative Reporting, and Cartooning. The New Yorker's Jennifer Gonnerman was the first magazine media finalist last year, but she eventually lost out to the Los Angeles Times' Diana Marcum in the Feature Writing category.
As if The New Yorker's afternoon couldn't get any better, longtime staff writer William Finnegan was also honored, not for his work with the magazine, but for his memoir, "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life."
Honored and staggered, in the other order. Thank you, Pulitzer committee.
— Kathryn Schulz (@kathrynschulz) April 18, 2016
Hot damn. I won a goddamn Pulitzer. Thank you to this wonderful magazine for letting me mouth off & think out loud.
— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) April 18, 2016
Read Remnick's full staff memo below:
Last year was the first time in the century-long history of the Pulitzer Prizes that magazines were permitted to submit entries. The New Yorker got off to a remarkable start. Jennifer Gonnerman’s reporting on the abuses at Rikers Island was a finalist in the Features category. Elizabeth Kolbert’s book “The Sixth Extinction,” much of which was published in The New Yorker, won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction; Evan Osnos’s book “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune Truth and Faith in the New China,” which had won the National Book Award, was a finalist in the same category.
This year’s results are simply astounding––and a source of immense pride.
Emily Nussbaum, who came to the magazine four years ago, has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Her critical essays on television are fearless, hilarious, and pioneering. Among the pieces submitted to the Pulitzer committee were her remarkable essays on advertising, Joan Rivers, P. Jay Sidney, and “Mad Men.” Hilton Als, our brilliant theatre critic, was a finalist in the same category.
Kathryn Schulz, who arrived at The New Yorker less than two years ago, has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for “The Really Big One,” her piece on the more-than-a-little-troubling geology of the Pacific Northwest. Her haunting description of the earthquake in Japan, in 2011, and her evocation of the earthquake-that-could-be in the states of Washington and Oregon stay with us much like works of the best fiction––and the most terrifying horror movies.
And, finally, William Finnegan, who has been a staff writer since 1987, has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his memoir, “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.” This is a project that has been Bill’s literary obsession for a very long time. It began as a series in our pages more than two decades ago and then came to completion in June with “Off Diamond Head,” a long excerpt from the final manuscript, and publication of the book by Penguin Press not long after.
This is a day of celebration at The New Yorker, first and foremost for these writers, who are so deserving. And I know they join me in celebrating, as well, everyone here who has worked with them on their pieces and on this Thing of Ours. Let’s gather at 4:00 p.m. today on the 38th floor and raise a glass.