"Charting the Great Divide": Update

"Charting the Great Divide" Duke Magazine, Sep.-Oct. 2001
June 1, 2003

Kevin Sack '81 now has some symmetry for his office bookcase: another Pulitzer Prize, to go with the 2001 Pulitzer awarded to him and other New York Times reporters for the fifteen-part series "How Race Is Lived in America." Sack wrote the lead article and later did a commissioned piece for Duke Magazine about the project.

Duke Magazine, Sep-Oct  2001

This year, Sack, now in the Atlanta bureau of The Los Angeles Times, has to share the National Reporting prize for 2003 with only one other writer, Alan Miller--for their four-part series "The Vertical Vision." The pair's winning work was the result of their eight-month investigation of the AV-8 Harrier, nicknamed "The Widow Maker," because of its history of failures that have resulted in the deaths of forty-five pilots.

" Anything that could go wrong with it did," Sack told his hometown newspaper, the Jacksonville, Florida, Daily Record. "There were mechanical problems related to the engine and the wing flaps and a host of outrageous maintenance problems. And it was a complicated plane; pilots talked about needing three hands to fly it."

Another team effort, which included the work of James O. Wilson '74, a veteran photographer for The New York Times, was recognized with a 2002 Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography. The Times was cited for "its consistently outstanding photographic coverage of the terrorist attack on New York City and its aftermath." It was the first staff Pulitzer for photography in the newspaper's history, according to Times editor Howell Raines, who recently appointed Wilson picture editor, the photography desk's senior-most position.

Wilson, who as an undergraduate was photo editor of The Chronicle, was recently appointed to the Duke Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. He has been with The Times since 1980. Over those years he has taken on various photo-staff management roles and has covered, among other themes, presidential campaigns and "the tragedy of earthquakes, fires, and floods in distant lands," he says.