Lunes, 16 Julio, 2018

Iowa town's editor wins Pulitzer for taking on farm groups

Storm Lake Times Art Cullen center editor and co-owner of the small-town newspaper poses for St. Thomas grad takes on ag interests, wins Pulitzer for editorial writing
Tobias Pedroso | 15 Abril, 2017, 08:55

The Cullens lost a few friends and a few advertisers, but never doubted they were doing the right thing.

"It's stunning to me that a little paper like our could compete with the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle but on the other hand we should be able to write as well as in Storm Lake, Iowa as well as somebody does in Houston or Washington or NY for that matter" says Art Cullen with the Storm Lake Times. "We strive to have a baby, a dog, a fire and a crash on every front page, so, yes, we do pander,"he said".

Mr Cullen also works as the city editor, part-time reporter, but he won for his editorials that took on some of Iowa's most powerful agricultural interests including the Koch Brothers, Cargill and Monsanto, and their secret funding of the local government's defence of a big environmental lawsuit.

The counties sued by the Des Moines Water Works secretly received money from agricultural groups to fight the lawsuit and the 3,000-circulation twice-weekly newspaper pushed in its reporting to lift the veil of secrecy on who was paying to fight the lawsuit. "It has caused us to spend millions upon millions trying to clean up Storm Lake, the victim of more than a century of explosive soil erosion".

Cullen, 59, says he feels vindicated that the information was released. A judge, however, dismissed the water utility's lawsuit last month, giving the farm groups and counties a clear victory.

Cullen is proud that the Pulitzer committee recognized his small newspaper's efforts alongside those of larger papers.

"We've always believed that The Storm Lake Times should be as good at covering Storm Lake as The New York Times is at covering New York", he told The Guardian.