The Press: Thorns in the Laurels

Though they are the most sought-after badges in daily print journalism, the Pulitzer Prizes, like awards in other fields, are frequently challenged. It is sometimes murmured that they are bestowed too often with an eye to geographic balance, or as a reward for longtime competence rather than contemporary brilliance. The top awards for 1971, announced last week, are again controversial, but for different reasons.

More than ever, it was the year of the investigator, the unmasker of official secrets and official wrongdoing. The New York Times won its 38th prize, this time in the "public service" category, for publishing the Pentagon papers....

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