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Volume xviii, Issue 15 ~ Apri 15 to April 21, 2010

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Bay Weekly Ally and Former Anne Arundel Countian
Wins Pulitzer Prize

Former Marylander Kathy Best leads Seattle Times to Breaking News glory

This is not a joke. April Fool’s comes but once a year — though some readers continue scratching their heads about our stories in that issue. Like the Southern Marylander who couldn’t get his son to believe Sarah Palin had her heart set on moving into Maryland’s Government House on her way to the White House. When I convinced him that the story was an April Fool’s prank, he sighed with relief.

This, however, is the God’s truth, worth shouting from the rooftops.

Back in 1993 when New Bay Times was toddling on shaky legs, old friend Kathy Best offered lots of advice and hands-on help. In those years, Best was a political correspondent in the Washington Bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There she worked with Bill Lambrecht, our editorial advisor and co-founder. The two had also worked for the Post-Dispatch in Illinois, forming a friendship that helped us get New Bay Times out of our heads and onto the street.

The three founders — Bill, Alex Knoll and me — were all Illinoisans, as was Best, whose family owned a community newspaper in the small town of Sullivan. That’s where we traveled to learn some of the tricks of the journalism trade from the masters, Kathy’s father Bob and mother Marian Best. Bob didn’t live to see his daughter share in journalism’s most prestigious prize, but Marian is rejoicing. As are we.

In her days in Washington, Best was a frequent visitor to Chesapeake Country; often we’d make her pay for her pleasure by taking a turn at the keyboard to help get the next New Bay Times ready for you to read.

Her dream of living along the Bay came true a decade later, when Best was hired as national and Sunday editor at The Baltimore Sun. She, husband and investigative reporter Andrew Schneider and three Labrador retrievers lived in Venice on the Bay in Northern Anne Arundel County.

Best left Chesapeake Country for Puget Sound. Now, on her second tour newspapering in Seattle, she is The Seattle Times’ managing editor for enterprise and innovation, meaning she runs the paper’s online edition.

When, on November 29, Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four suburban Seattle police officers, The Seattle Times leapt into action. Best and other editors guided the couple of dozen Times reporters and staff in tracking and illuminating the story. Indeed, hundreds of stories poured out a stream of continuous coverage made possible by online journalism and Best’s ever-twitching nose for news.

On April 12, the 2010 Pulitzer for Breaking News Reporting was awarded to The Seattle Times staff for “its comprehensive coverage, in print and online, of the shooting deaths of four police officers in a coffee house and the 40-hour manhunt for the suspect.”

“The impressive thing,” Pulitzer judge Margaret Wolf Freivogel of the St. Louis Beacon told Bay Weekly, “was that they were very good about following the breaking events with the shooting and investigation, and at the same time digging up additional information about the release of the shooter from prison in Alabama. That was quite a difficult double focus, to go beyond the immediate event and think about the things that led up to it in certain important ways.”

April 12, Pulitzer Day, was also Best’s 53rd birthday.

“Hey, who’s counting!” Best replied to our double congratulations.

We are. Best’s Pulitzer brings the Best-Schneider household Pulitzer total to three, as Schneider is himself a two-time Pulitzer winner.

from the Editor