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Two in Bay Area win Pulitzers

SFGate cartoonist Mark Fiore and NY Times writer Matt Richtel, a San Francisco resident, won Pulitzer Prizes today.

Fiore, 41, won “for his animated cartoons appearing on SFGate.com … where his wit, extensive research and ability to distill complex issues set a high standard for an emerging form of commentary,” the Pulitzer committee said. (Here’s SFGate’s report, and here’s an archive of his work. An example of his work is below.)

Fiore’s bio says that his cartoons, which he self-syndicates to news Web sites across the country, “are seen by millions and possibly even scrillions.” He began freelancing cartoons to SFGate in 2000. He was previously a staff cartoonist at the Mercury News.

Like Fiore, Richtel is a cartoonist — he does the strip “Rudy Park” in his spare time under the pen name Theron Heir — but that’s not why he won the Pulitzer. The Pulitzer committee said Richtel and the staff of the Times won the prize for national reporting “for incisive work, in print and online, on the hazardous use of cell phones, computers and other devices while operating cars and trucks, stimulating widespread efforts to curb distracted driving.”

“The series generated the biggest impact of anything The Times published in 2009,” the Times said yesterday. “By the end of the year, state legislators had proposed more than 200 bills variously barring drivers from texting or phoning or requiring hands-free headsets.”

Richtel is the author of “Hooked,” a novel centered on technology and published in 2007. Born in Los Angeles, Richtel grew up in Boulder, Colo. He received a B.A. degree in rhetoric from the UC-Berkeley in 1989 and an M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1990.

Richtel lives in San Francisco with his wife and their son.

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