Journalist, Author Dana Canedy Is Elected Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes
The appointment, effective July 17, was announced by the Pulitzer Prize Board and by Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, where the prestigious prizes in journalism, letters, drama and music are administered.
Canedy succeeds Mike Pride, 70, editor emeritus of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, who will retire July 31 after three years as administrator.
Canedy joined The Times in 1996 after eight years of reporting and editing at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. As a special projects reporter and editor at The Times, she was a lead journalist on “How Race Is Lived in America,” the series that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. As Florida bureau chief for The Times, she covered the 2000 presidential election recount and reported on the flight-school training of the 9/11 terrorists. She oversaw national breaking news coverage for The Times for four years.
After Canedy’s partner, First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, was killed in combat during the first Iraq war in 2006, she used the journal he had begun for their unborn child as the basis for a book, A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor. Canedy's memoir has been published in 10 countries in eight languages and has been optioned for a movie by Columbia Pictures and Denzel Washington.
“Dana Canedy’s sterling qualifications speak for themselves,” said Gene Robinson, a Washington Post columnist and the Pulitzer Prize Board chair who led the search committee that chose Canedy. “At a time when media organizations are adapting to technologies and the epithet ‘fake news’ is brandished as a weapon, Canedy’s experience, energy, integrity and passion will help the Board focus on its vital mission: identifying and celebrating the best in American journalism and arts and letters.”
“For more than a century, Columbia's administration of the Pulitzer Prizes has signified our enduring commitment to both courageous journalism in the public interest and the highest achievement in American arts and letters,” said President Bollinger, who is also a Pulitzer Board member. “There's no one who better reflects that commitment than Dana Canedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winner herself whose insightful writing and respected editing have set a consistent standard of journalistic excellence. We look forward to welcoming her to our campus and to the Pulitzers.”
In addition to Robinson and Bollinger, the search committee consisted of Pulitzer Board members Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism; Aminda Marquéz Gonzalez, vice president and executive editor of The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald; and Junot Díaz, author and writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Keven Ann Willey, editorial page editor and vice president of the Dallas Morning News and immediate past co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
As a senior editor at The Times in recent years, Canedy led talent acquisition and management training, career development and diversity and inclusion initiatives. “It is an enormous honor to be chosen as the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes,” Canedy said. “As a journalist and author for more than 25 years, I have tremendous respect for the importance of the prizes in promoting the best in American journalism and arts and letters. In an era of warp-speed digital and social change in journalism and unsettling assaults on a free and independent press, the role of the Pulitzer Prizes is more vital than ever.”
Canedy was born in Indianapolis and grew up near Fort Knox, KY. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky and lives in New York with her son Jordan.
Her Times career included three years as a business reporter followed by three more as the Florida bureau chief. Before she accepted the Pulitzer job, she served as a special adviser to the Times’s CEO and executive editor. Her media experience includes appearances on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
She was a founding board member of the Digital Diversity Network, a nonprofit trade association designed to advance diversity and inclusion in the leadership and ownership of digital media. She is also a board member of Project Morry, a nonprofit that supports at-risk students from underserved communities.
The Pulitzer Prize administrator's office works with the Board on a wide range of activities, including selection of juries, prize deliberations, committee work and arranging the twice-annual meetings of the Board, which chooses the winners each April.
The Pulitzer Prizes were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.
The 19-member Pulitzer Board is composed mainly of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia's journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are nonvoting members. The chair rotates annually to the most senior member or members. The board is self-perpetuating in the election of members. Voting members may serve three terms of three years for a total of nine years.