Two years ago, the Pulitzer committee turned down an entry from Knight Ridder’s Washington Bureau for its reports challenging the Bush administration during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. “Those stories arguably were of Pulitzer Prize quality. After all, while much of the press joined in lock-step with the administration’s march to war, Knight Ridder (now McClatchy Newspapers) and its three correspondents [Jonathan S. Landay, Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott] had the courage to buck the tide and dig out well-grounded misgivings about the build-up to war,” writes Gilbert Cranberg, a University of Iowa journalism professor and former Des Moines Register editorial page editor. Cranberg argues that the Pulitzer committee should now reconsider the work of these reporters and issue a special citation or special award. It has done so 30 times in the past, he points out. “This country’s press┬ádid not distinguish itself with its pre-war Iraq coverage. The equivalent of mea culpas run by both the [New York] Times and the [Washington] Post are a measure of how deficient it was. The ‘lonely journalism’ of Knight Ridder and staffers Landay, Strobel and Walcott were outstanding exceptions that merit Pulitzer recognition,” Cranberg writes.

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