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New podcast is a prize for journalism enthusiasts

ASU Cronkite School will help launch ‘Pulitzer on the Road’ series with March 25 panel discussion

Gold Medallions above the words "Pulitzer on the Road"

"Pulitzer on the Road" is a new six-episode series podcast and a production of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University in collaboration with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Photo illustration courtesy the Pulitzer Prizes

March 21, 2024

Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and judges are receiving a new platform to showcase their work and spark a dialogue about the inner workings of the prestigious award, thanks to a partnership between two major journalism programs. 

Pulitzer on the Road” is a new six-episode series podcast and a production of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University in collaboration with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. 

The podcast launches March 25 with a panel discussion and reception from 5–7:30 p.m. at the Cronkite School's First Amendment Forum, 555 N. Central Ave., on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Podcast launch event

5–7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 25

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
555 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ, 85004

More details

The evening’s discussion will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Caitlin Dickerson from The Atlantic and John Archibald of, as well as ASU’s Nicole Carroll, in conversation with Marjorie Miller, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

The event is free. Register to secure a spot at the event.

“This is the first time the Pulitzers have done a podcast, inviting listeners into discussions between judges and winners,” said Carroll, executive director of the ASU local journalism initiative. “It’s part of a new 'Pulitzer on the Road' initiative bringing live events and exhibitions to new audiences around the country with the goal of supporting the work of journalism and arts in a democracy and offering insights into what makes Pulitzer-worthy work.”  

According to Caroll, Dickerson will talk about her investigation into the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Archibald will discuss his work in exposing a local police force that was fleecing its residents.

Carroll said each of the six episodes will have social graphics and videos that will be shared with listeners, and will be aired on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms.  

ASU News spoke to Carroll, who is an alumna of the Cronkite School and an inductee to its Hall of Fame, about her role in the podcast and how she’ll spread the word to potential listeners.   

Woman with long brown hair smiling
Nicole Carroll. Photo by Tom Tingle/USA Today Network

Question: How did the idea for “Pulitzer on the Road” come about and how long did it take to come to fruition? 

Answer: The Pulitzer Board had been talking about ways to bring Pulitzer-winning work to more people. Marjorie Miller started a live event series called “Pulitzer on the Road.” We proposed this podcast as an additional form of outreach, and it became part of that initiative. Our podcast would go “on the road” to talk to winners about their work, from the places (where) the work took place or was placed. 

We did our first interviews in Eufaula, Alabama, last August. We’ll do the last interview in Meadowview, Virginia, in April with author Barbara Kingsolver. 

Q: Can you explain the relationship between Columbia University and Arizona State University and why you partnered with them? 

A: I’m a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, which is based at Columbia University, and I’m a professor of practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. It became a natural collaboration. Additionally, Central Sound at Arizona PBS is well known for its podcasts and became the series producer. 

Q: What’s the basic concept of the podcast? 

A: Pulitzer judges interview Pulitzer winners about their work — what struggles did they face, what insights did they gain? They get and share behind-the-scenes stories. I serve as a host to fill in the blanks and propel the stories forward. Miller is the executive producer.  

Pulitzer Prizes are awarded each year in drama, music and journalism. Individual juries narrow entries to three finalists for each category, which are sent to the Pulitzer Prize Board. As a board, we discuss each finalist and choose the winners. Being part of these discussions is such a learning experience and an enormous privilege. I often thought, I wish the public could hear these conversations. Obviously, our deliberations are confidential, so this is as close as we can get.  

Q: Who will be some of your guests and the topics you’ll be delving into? 

A: We talk with three winners in journalism and three in books. In journalism, you’ll hear from the team that uncovered how the police force in the town of Brookside preyed on residents to inflate revenue. Caitlin Dickerson from The Atlantic explains how she uncovered how and why the U.S. started separating children from their parents at the border. And Mstyslav Chernov of the Associated Press talks about how he and his team were the last international journalists in Mariupol, Ukraine, when the Russia invasion began.

In books, historian Jefferson Cowie takes us to Eufaula, Alabama, to show the evolution and terrible consequences of white supremacy in one town. We had two winners in the fiction category: Author Hernan Diaz shares stories behind his winning book, “Trust”; Barbara Kingsolver will discuss “Demon Copperhead.” 

Q: The concept of delving into what makes for Pulitzer-worthy work should be fascinating. What do you hope listeners will come away with when they tune into the podcast? 

A: I hope listeners come away feeling the impact of this work. In Brookside, reporters uncovered a police scheme that was costing local citizens their cars as well as hundreds or thousands of dollars. In Mariupol, the Associated Press journalists exposed Russian atrocities while placing themselves in grave danger. We might have never known about the bombing of a maternity hospital without their work.

This type of journalism is time consuming, it’s costly and it’s critically important. With the authors, I hope this podcast encourages people to read and discuss their thought-provoking work. 

Q: When do we learn about this year’s Pulitzer Prizes? 

A: We timed this series to lead up to the announcement of the next prizes. We’ll release episodes every Monday from March 25 through April 29. The 2024 prizes will be announced on Monday, May 6.

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