Ex-Sentinel staffer wins Pulitzer

Denver Post photographer also wins journalism's top honor

Michael Moss



A former staff writer for The Daily Sentinel captured honors for explanatory reporting in the Pulitzer prizes announced Monday.

Michael Moss, who was a reporter at the Sentinel in the early 1980s, won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in what the committee said was “relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food-safety issues that, in print and online, spotlighted defects in federal regulation and led to improved practices.”

Moss’ capture of a Pulitzer “doesn’t surprise me at all,” said former Daily Sentinel Executive Editor Dennis M. Herzog.

“He was one of the best writers ever to pass through western Colorado. He was one of those guys who could walk down Main Street and come back with six stories and they would all be good.”

While at the Sentinel, Moss was chosen by Cox Newspapers to cover an attempt, which ultimately failed, to climb the West Ridge of Mount Everest in Nepal.

He also is the author of “Palace Coup: The Inside Story of Harry and Leona Helmsley.”

“He would literally write about anything,” Herzog said. “He would write and write and write. His output was phenomenal.”

A photographer for The Denver Post also has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize

Craig F. Walker won the coveted honor in feature photography for the series “Ian Fisher: American Soldier,” for which he spent 27 months following Fisher from recruitment, training, deployment to Iraq and return from combat.

The Denver Post published the series in September.

The awards were announced Monday at Columbia University in New York City. Walker’s Pulitzer, the newspaper’s sixth, is the most prestigious award in journalism.

“Thank God for Ian Fisher, he and his family, it’s their story,” Walker said shortly after he learned he won. “They were just incredible. ... If they had not been that willing to share their lives the way they did, warts and all, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Walker, a photographer at the newspaper since 1998, and reporters from the newspaper gained permission from Fisher, his family, and the Army to document Fisher joining the Army during the height of the Iraqi insurgency. Walker said the project turned into a coming-of-age story.

“I’m very happy for Craig Walker. This is a project that he loved, and he stayed committed to it for over two years,” said Gregory L. Moore, editor of the Post.

Walker’s pictures showed Fisher at his high school graduation, during training, and during his time in Iraq. Fisher said pictures taken while he was at the Denver Military Processing Command, where new recruits undergo a physical examination, provided the most uncomfortable moments for him.

“He was taking pictures of me in my boxers,” said Fisher, who was with Walker on Monday celebrating the news. “It was part of the story. ... It ended up working out very well.”

Dave Philipps of The Gazette in Colorado Springs was a finalist for local reporting for stories on the spike in violence in a combat brigade returning to Fort Carson after bloody deployments to Iraq.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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