Here's the first five paragraphs of the series, published in August 2014. Part 1 of the "Till Death Do Us Part" took over the whole front page:
More than 300 women were shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death over the past decade by men in South Carolina, dying at a rate of one every 12 days while the state does little to stem the carnage from domestic abuse.
More than three times as many women have died here at the hands of current or former lovers than the number of Palmetto State soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
It’s a staggering toll that for more than 15 years has placed South Carolina among the top 10 states nationally in the rate of women killed by men. The state topped the list on three occasions, including this past year, when it posted a murder rate for women that was more than double the national rate.
Awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered, South Carolina is a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse, a Post and Courier investigation has found.
Couple this with deep-rooted beliefs about the sanctity of marriage and the place of women in the home, and the vows “till death do us part” take on a sinister tone.
In the Post and Courier's story
announcing the honor, executive editor Mitch Pugh is quoted as giving a nod to the newspaper's independent ownership while addressing the staff in the newsroom:
"A great deal of credit should go to our ownership,” Pugh added. “This is a family-owned, privately held company that cares deeply about the journalism it produces. Without that kind of unparalleled support, we couldn’t do the kind of work we are doing today.”
Anyone interested should check out the link
: even if you don't have time to read it all, there are video interviews, photos, maps and graphics, and pullquotes and subheads that tell the story with no punches pulled
: "Wife beaters get lenient treatment" and "Tradition, pride, religion, patriarchy a dangerous mix for Bible Belt women in their relationships" and "A chorus of voices that includes police, pastors and politicians, has condemned South Carolina’s grisly record of violence toward women. Their words, however, haven’t translated into much action."
The end of Part 7, "Enough is Enough," lays out a number of specific "Problems" laid out alongside specific "Solutions." And a search of the website shows many follow-up stories.
Negative comments about "reporters" are common here on Daily Kos, although often when commenters use the word "reporters," they're actually talking about the idiot bobbleheads on TV, opinion page columnists or campaign trail analysts, not rank-and-file print reporters, like Doug Pardue, Glenn Smith, Jennifer Berry Hawes and Natalie Caula Hauff, whose bylines are on "Till Death Do Us Part." These reporters at the Post and Courier spent two years working on this series! Could any blogger devote so much time and so many resources to covering this story? I'd have to say the answer was "no," although bloggers have done amazing work, and yes, chain ownership of newspapers looking for Wall Street levels of profit have cut newsroom staffs and resources bigtime in recent years, making it harder for reporters to do anything more than the daily grind.
"The four reporters and other journalists at the newspaper started delving into the issue in September 2013, when the Violence Policy Center ranked South Carolina No. 1 in the nation in the rate of women killed by men.
"The reporting team built a database of slaying victims and investigated the legal, political, cultural and economic factors that fueled the problem."
And let's not forget the newspaper designers - so important for getting the message out to the general public, who might not always be interested in reading lengthy, text-only analysis - who were given this praise in today's Post and Courier editorial
, "A Pulitzer honor — and a continuing challenge."
It was aided by splendid design work, most notably the full front page on the first day, Aug. 20, featuring photos of dozens of the victims in happier days. It provided a real sense of the awful loss.
The editorial also talks about state legislation inspired - passed by the state Senate but meeting resistance in the House - by "Till Death Do Us Part," that would ban most convicted domestic abusers from owning guns:
"More importantly, [the series] was compelling enough to trigger widespread demands for reform of antiquated policies and laws.
"Those in the halls of state power have been hearing those pleas. State lawmakers are working on legislation aimed at reducing the terrible toll of domestic abuse in our state with tougher penalties for offenders.
"The Senate has approved such a bill, which includes a gun ban for most offenders.
"Unfortunately, though, there remains a significant level of stubborn, misguided resistance in the S.C. House to assuring restrictions on gun ownership by domestic abusers. The House bill would allow criminal domestic violence offenses to be pleaded down to assault, which would effectively remove the requirement of a gun ban.
"South Carolinians should let their elected officials in Columbia know that allowing domestic abusers to keep legally owning guns in the name of the Second Amendment is not just legally misguided, but morally wrong. Considering the public’s viewpoint, as seen in statewide polls, the House position should also be politically costly."
Well-done, to The Post and Courier!
For anyone interested in checking out the other laudable work the Pulitzer committee considered this year, here's a link to the list of 2015 Pulitzer Prize winners, which included two prizes for "Investigative Reporting":
Awarded to the The Wall Street Journal Staff for "Medicare Unmasked," a pioneering project that gave Americans unprecedented access to previously confidential data on the motivations and practices of their health care providers.
Awarded to Eric Lipton of The New York Times for reporting that showed how the influence of lobbyists can sway congressional leaders and state attorneys general, slanting justice toward the wealthy and connected.
and an honorable mention:
Also nominated as a finalist in this category was: David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib of the Chicago Tribune for their exposé of the perils faced by abused children placed in Illinois’s residential treatment centers.