NEW YORK – The Miami Herald won the breaking-news Pulitzer Prize Monday for its coverage of the pre-dawn raid by federal agents who took custody of Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez. The story also produced the breaking news photography award for Alan Diaz of The Associated Press, for his photo of a federal agent in riot gear confronting a man holding Elian in a closet.
"It's awesome! I can't believe it!" Diaz said as he was mobbed by Miami AP staff members and toasted with champagne.
The Oregonian won two Pulitzers, including public service for its examination of systematic problems with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Other double winners were the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
David Moats of the Rutland (Vt.) Herald — circulation 22,000 — won the newspaper's first Pulitzer, for editorials in support of civil unions for gay couples.
"I'm flying high!" Moats said, as champagne was passed around the newsroom.
David Willman of the Los Angeles Times won for investigative reporting for his expose of unsafe drugs that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
For explanatory reporting, the staff of the Chicago Tribune won for "Gateway to Gridlock" about the American air traffic system.
The beat reporting Pulitzer went to David Cay Johnston of The New York Times for exposing loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code. The Times also won for national reporting for its series on race in America.
Two prizes were awarded in international reporting. Ian Johnson of The Wall Street Journal won for stories about the Chinese government's suppression of the Falun Gong movement. Paul Salopek of the Chicago Tribune — a winner in 1998 for explanatory reporting for a profile of the human genome project — won for reporting on political strife and disease in Africa.
It's rare that the Pulitzer committee awards two prizes in one category. The last time it happened in international reporting was in 1993 for stories about the Bosnian conflict.
The feature writing prize went to Tom Hallman Jr. of Portland's Oregonian for a profile of a facially disfigured teen-ager who underwent surgery.
The commentary award went to Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal for articles on American society and culture.
Pulitzer Prize administrator Seymour Topping said Rabinowitz was not one of the three finalists selected by the Pulitzer jury. He said the Pulitzer board, which makes the final decisions, sought "a broader choice" and that the jury offered Rabinowitz as an alternate selection. "It is a rare occurrence," Topping said.
Gail Caldwell of The Boston Globe won for criticism for her observations on contemporary life and literature.
The editorial cartooning prize went to Ann Telnaes of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.
The Pulitzer for feature photography went to Matt Rainey of The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., for his emotional photographs of the care and recovery of two students burned in a fire at Seton Hall University.
After winning, Rainey called the students "two really special souls."
"I think they're heroes," he said.
It was the Star-Ledger's first Pulitzer. The newspaper's spot news coverage of the fire also was a finalist, and the paper's Robin Gaby Fisher was a finalist in the feature writing category for stories on the students' recovery.
Each winner receives $7,500, except for the public service award, where the winning newspaper receives a gold medal.