Storm Lake Times Pulitzer winner: ‘They give you 15 grand. That’s worth it.’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Pulitzer Prizes are committed to rewarding works of original and important journalism. Monday they credited this line, from the Storm Lake Times of Iowa: “It scares the bejeebers out of taxpayers, especially in defendant counties,” wrote Art Cullen in one of the pieces that secured the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen is editor of his 3,000-circulation newspaper, and as such, he can write “bejeebers” whenever he pleases: “The style guides is whatever we come up with. We have no style or class,” Cullen told the Erik Wemple Blog.

Whatever term you choose, Cullen and his small newspaper have scared something out of the powers that be in a few counties of northern Iowa. Since the founding of the Storm Lake Times in 1990, says Cullen, he and his brother John have been obsessed with how Iowa has changed its mode of agriculture. Gone are the cattle and grazing pastures, he says — they’ve been herded into feed lots. Meantime, the landscape has been gobbled up by expanses of corn and soybeans. With the changeover has come nitrate pollution. One of the first stories that the newspaper did, he recalls, reported how its coverage area had become “the hottest spot in Iowa for nitrate pollution.”

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