On Monday, April 15, The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious form of recognition granted in journalism and literature in the United States, announced their 2019 winners. As the nation’s writers, composers and journalists watched the annual ceremony in eager anticipation, viewers were surprised by an unprecedented opening: a shout out to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s very own newspaper, The Eagle Eye.
For their coverage during the 2017-2018 school year, The Eagle Eye entered the Public Service and Local Reporting categories.
The submitted work included a collection of 17 obituaries published in their third quarter memorial issue, as well as coverage of The March For Our Lives movement, and other activism and happenings at MSD.
“I want to break tradition and offer my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win but should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy. The entry is from the staff of The Eagle Eye student newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,” Dana Canedy, the Pulitzer award administrator, said.
While The Eagle Eye did not receive the award, their recognition was atypical, for the Pulitzer Prize organization has rarely, if ever, acknowledged a high school entry.
“These budding journalists remind us of the media’s unwavering commitment to bearing witness, even in the most wrenching of circumstances in service to a nation whose very existence is dependent on a free and dedicated press,” Canedy said. “There is hope in their example.”
The award in Public Service was ultimately received by South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel for their coverage and investigative reporting on the shooting at MSD, and the award in Local Reporting was received by the staff of The Advocate from Baton Rouge, Louisiana for their coverage of their state’s discriminatory conviction system.
In further recognition of their entry, Canedy personally invited The Eagle Eye to join the annual Pulitzer Prizes luncheon at Columbia University in New York City on May 28.
Spirit Airlines donated a set of flights for the group, alongside the Sun-Sentinel, who will be covering the group’s other expenses. Eight students will travel to the luncheon.
This story was originally published in the May 2019 Eagle Eye print edition.