A week ago Adam won a prize. A big prize. A Pulitzer Prize. The Tuscaloosa News won the 2012 Breaking News Coverage Pulitzer Prize for last April's coverage of the tornado here in Tuscaloosa. To me this is a huge deal. You hear about Pulitzer Prizes in movies and books. And now I am married to a Pulitzer Prize winner! Like the Super Bowl of journalism. I could not be more proud.
Adam and the whole staff handled this tragedy in an honorable and incredible way. The boys and I took shelter in the basement of the News the day of the tornado and afterwards we emerged and the staff left behind families and dogs and not knowing about their own losses to go and survey the damage. From that point forward they worked basically a week straight. They worked to tell the story of a grieving community. They worked to connect help to those that need it. They worked to connect the searching with the missing. And then they worked to honor those lost.
For me, even though the award only covers the pieces created in the couple of days after the storm, it really honors the work Adam did. Adam wrote obituary after obituary for the children lost in the storm. It was heartbreaking to step in the middle of the grief of these families and to put into words the story of a life cut short. Adam struggled for several months to create obituaries that would bring the families some peace and do honor to the members they lost. It was gut wrenching for me to watch. This award rewards that effort, for me.
While no one wishes this tragedy on anyone, and while Adam would rather have had April 27, 2011 have been a beautiful cloud free spring day than win multiple Pulitzer Prizes the best story (in my opinion :) ) to come from all the coverage (again not included in the award) is the story about Robert Reid. This story changed his life. Forever. And while Adam will shrug it off and say anyone could have written it.... in my heart this Pulitzer is for this and the many other stories written by all the staff that helped to heal a community.