Press: A Fraud in the Pulitzers

The Washington Post returns a prize, with apologies

It was every young reporter's dream come true: a gripping Page One story in the Washington Post, a public outcry, an investigation by the city and, finally, the Pulitzer Prize. For a glorious Monday last week, Janet Cooke, 26, hit the jackpot. Her sensational account of "Jimmy," an eight-year-old heroin addict, had won the Pulitzer for feature writing, and she seemed destined for stardom at one of the nation's most respected newspapers.

But the fairy tale began to unravel Tuesday afternoon, when Post Executive Editor Benjamin Bradlee received a...

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