Two University alumni and one faculty member received recognition from Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prize committee on Monday, May 4, garnering two wins and one finalist status. Given annually, the prizes seek to recognize “excellence in journalism and the arts.”
Juliet Eilperin ’92, along with several colleagues at The Washington Post, won a Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting. Columbia granted the award for “2º C: Beyond The Limit,” a project which explored areas of the planet that have experienced above-average global warming.
“Being recognized for the work, I feel this is something we’ve been focused on for a long time,” said Eilperin, who covers national affairs and federal environmental policy for the Post. “We’re at a moment that, even in the midst of a pandemic, people realize that this is one of the most pressing issues we face. So for all those reasons, and for someone who’s been working on journalism since my time at Princeton and since the day I left the gates, it’s pretty great to win something like this.”
Eilperin served as a Managing Editor for The Daily Princetonian and graduated with a degree in politics.
Ben Taub ’14 was also recognized, winning the prize in Feature Writing for his New Yorker piece, “Guantánamo’s Darkest Secret.”
Taub’s reporting chronicles the experience of Mohamedou Salahi, an inmate who was confined for over 14 years at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In addition to reporting on Salahi’s detention, Taub’s writing covers the American war on terror, considering the impact of events like 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan.
Shortly after receiving the award, Taub, whose work at The New Yorker focuses on subjects such as jihadism, espionage, and war crimes, shared his reaction on Twitter.
“[T]hank you to so many of you who have written (especially @MohamedouOuld and @Stevewood81OR, who entrusted me with their story). I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment, and closing a piece (about submarines!), but will write back to each of you soon,” he wrote.
Taub declined to comment for this story.
Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies, was the only University faculty member to receive recognition.
Taylor’s book, “Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership,” was selected as a finalist for the prize in History. Her work looks at how even after the conclusion of redlining, racist exclusionary practices by a host of different actors still crippled black homeownership.
For Taylor, the news was unexpected.
“I was truly surprised by this,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’
“The finalists and winner were all chosen simultaneously, and so it was all very quick and shocking,” she wrote. “After several hours, I think I just feel a lot of appreciation and gratitude for the recognition of the book and hopefully the history it has tried to shine a light on.”