Archive for Thursday, October 23, 2003

Historian hired by N.Y. Times calls for revoking ‘32 Pulitzer

October 23, 2003


— A 1932 Pulitzer Prize awarded to The New York Times should be revoked, according to a historian hired by the newspaper to review the winning work, which has been questioned for years.

A subcommittee of the Pulitzer Board has been reviewing the prize won by writer Walter Duranty for his series on Russia. The review was sparked by complaints that Duranty deliberately ignored in later coverage the forced famine in the Ukraine that killed millions of people.

Mark von Hagen, a Columbia University history professor, said in his report to the Times that Duranty "frequently writes in the enthusiastically propagandistic language of his sources," and that "there is a serious lack of balance in his writing."

"For the sake of The New York Times' honor, they should take the prize away," von Hagen said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.

The Times has reviewed von Hagen's report and forwarded it to the Pulitzer Board with a recommendation from Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who declined comment on Wednesday.

"It was between me and the Pulitzer Board," he said, adding that the next step "is a decision for the Pulitzer committee."

Von Hagen said the Times asked him in July to review Duranty's work. He submitted a report to the newspaper about a month later.

Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler also declined to comment on the report and its effect on the review of the 1932 prize. No Pulitzer has been revoked since the prizes were first awarded in 1917.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.