Editor’s column: A Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Editor Sheila McCann gets a hug from Deputy Editor Tim Fitzpatrick as the Salt Lake Tribune wins their second Pulitzer Prize in its nearly 150-year history Monday, earning the nod in Local Reporting for its groundbreaking investigation of rape at Utah colleges.

As a newsroom, we are overwhelmed and overjoyed to receive the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

As editor, I can assure you that investigative projects like this one don't just happen overnight. This special report started last April, and, since rejoining The Salt Lake Tribune in August, I've had the privilege of watching Managing Editor Sheila McCann expertly shepherd this extraordinary team of reporters, editors and photographers.

Our reporters and editors have spent hour upon hour interviewing young women and men about their experiences with campus officials, family, peers and local police. They've talked with experts about campus rape, consent, law enforcement and the cultural and psychological barriers that often prevent sex assault victims from coming forward. They've asked for public records, and, when officials refused, they've fought for them at the State Records Committee and in court. In fact, our lawyers are still battling on two fronts to get records that will help inform the public.

It's been an honor to watch and to support our team. And the effort warrants more than a few thank-yous:

To the members of the Pulitzer Prize committee who bestowed their most prestigious honor on The Salt Lake Tribune, we thank you for recognizing our efforts to expose injustice and hold institutions accountable.

To the dozens of sexual assault survivors who emerged over the past year, we're humbled by your courage and we applaud your willingness to trust us with your most personal stories.

To the core Tribune team that tirelessly dug into this story with integrity and compassion — McCann; reporters Erin Alberty, Jessica Miller and Alex Stuckey; now-digital-editor Rachel Piper; and photographer Leah Hogsten — as well as former Editor Terry Orme and contributors Nate Carlisle, Ben Wood, Matthew Piper, Peggy Fletcher Stack, Chris Detrick and Francisco Kjolseth, we salute you.

To campus administrators who changed harmful policies, we respect and acknowledge your willingness to re-examine and repair a broken system.

To campus administrators and law enforcement who continue to refuse to share public records with us, we hope you'll reconsider so we can continue to shed light on this crucial issue.

To our owner and publisher, Paul Huntsman, we greatly appreciate your financial support and encouragement of watchdog journalism and vivid, effective storytelling.

To the public, which has followed our campus rape coverage, we treasure your loyalty. Your clicks and your subscriptions make our journalism possible.

With your continued support, it won't be another 50 years until we win our next Pulitzer.