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This afternoon, Washington Post commentator Ruth Marcus discovers whether she’s won a Pulitzer Prize for the commentary she wrote last year. Marcus, in Pulitzerese, is a “nominated finalist” for the award. Whichever way it goes, Marcus will be thanking her friends and colleagues at the Post. For real.
That’s because Marcus wouldn’t be enjoying this distinction without her friends and colleagues. Her nominating package comes courtesy of an extracurricular effort manned by Posties Susan Schmidt, Sari Horwitz, and Dana Priest. The trio teamed up on Marcus’s behalf when it became clear that the Post‘s own Pulitzer submissions wouldn’t feature a packet for Marcus, who focuses on national politics and social policy issues in her Op-Ed pieces.
“It was just an idea that was presented to me by my colleague Susan Schmidt, and I thought it was a great idea. I had no second thoughts,” says Priest.
Now, if your paper’s editors aren’t going to go to bat for you, you can do worse than the nominating team that came together for Marcus. Each of the three is a Pulitzer winner herself—-Schmidt for exposing the various scandals surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff; Horwitz, a two-time winner, for pieces on the D.C. police department and D.C.’s child protection system; and Priest for her enormous scoop on secret CIA detention centers.
Going around the bosses has worked for overachieving Posties in the past. The entry for David Vise and Steve Coll‘s 1990 Pulitzer victory for stories on the Securities and Exchange Commission also went outside of official Post channels.
Marcus says of her nominating team: “They’ve been my friends and colleagues for years, and I was truly honored that they were willing to do this.”