Among the Pulitzer prizes, the top journalistic award is the one to the U.S. newspaper that has rendered the most "meritorious public service." Ever since 1917, when the awards were first made under the will of the late great Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the "public service" prize has always gone to a daily, usually a big one. This week, for the first time in the history of the prizes, the "public service" award for 1952 went to two country weeklies, published in North Carolina's Columbus County: the Whiteville News Reporter (circ. 5,007) and the Tabor City Tribune (circ. 1,500).
The two weeklies won their prize for stopping an invasion. The invaders: the Ku Klux Klan, which swarmed into Columbus County from neighboring counties in 1950 and began to terrorize whites and Negroes alike. News Reporter Editor Willard Cole, 46, and Tribune Editor Horace Carter, 32, locked arms for a long, tough battle. Branding the Klan "a [bunch of] gangsters," Cole and Carter, both native Tarheels and longtime friends, fought month after month with front-page editorials, dug up proof of K.K.K. floggings and atrocities, kept guns in their homes for their own protection.
After other papers joined their crusade, the uproar brought the FBI and state investigators into the county. As a result, 16 Klansmen, including Imperial Wizard Thomas Hamilton, were sent to jail for terms up to six years (TIME, Aug. n), 46 others were fined a total of $15,850, and the Klan was smashed.
Other Pulitzer journalistic awards for 1952 ($1,000 each):
¶ For national reporting, Associated Press Special Correspondent Don Whitehead, 45, for his 4,400-word story on Presidentelect Eisenhower's secret trip to Korea. Correspondent Whitehead, one of the six newsmen to accompany Ike, and a previous Pulitzer winner for his reporting of the Korean war in 1951, has been an A.P. staffer for the last 18 years. If For local reporting under deadline pressure, the Providence (R.I.) Journal and Evening Bulletin, for coverage of the chase and capture of a bank robber. The city desk picked up the $51,000 robbery on the police radio, dispatched its own two-way radio cars to follow the robber and police. The minute-by-minute coverage included a notable picture of the cornered gunman trying to escape by using a woman as a shield.
¶ For local reporting, where time was not a factor and the "resourcefulness" of the reporter led to "constructive results," New York World-Telegram and Sun Reporter Edward J. Mowery, 47. Mowery's dogged work to free an ex-dime store clerk named Louis Hoffner, who had been unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment on a murder conviction, won Hoffner a complete pardon (TIME, Nov. 24).
¶ For international reporting, Milwaukee Journal Financial Reporter Austin C. Wehrwein, 37, for a series of 26 articles on the politics, economics and industrial development of Canada.
¶ For distinguished editorial writing, Wall Street Journal Editorial Writer Vermont C. (for Connecticut) Royster, 39.
¶For cartooning, Cleveland Plain Dealer Cartoonist Edward D. Kuekes, for his drawing, "Aftermath" (see cut-).