The Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing was awarded to Tampa Bay Times editorial writers Daniel Ruth and Tim Nickens Monday.
The subject of the award-winning editorials? The anti-fluoride flap in Pinellas County.
The Pulitzer citation reads as follows: "Awarded to Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., for their diligent campaign that helped reverse a decision to end fluoridation of the water supply for the 700,000 residents of the newspaper’s home county."
Here's an excerpt from the first column on fluoridation from March 18, 2012.
"This is a defining moment for Pinellas County, where Midwestern sensibilities run deep and extremism usually fails. It’s been nearly three months since the county stopped putting fluoride in its drinking water. The reason: Four county commissioners sided with a handful of tea party followers, conspiracy theorists and a tiny anti-fluoride group misnamed Citizens for Safe Water. Nancy Bostock, Neil Brickfield, John Morroni and Norm Roche turned their backs on established science and public health."
"The evidence that fluoridating drinking water is safe and prevents tooth decay is overwhelming
and widely embraced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Dental Association, the Florida Department of Health and the Pinellas County Dental Association stand behind it. Yet these four county commissioners voted
last fall to stop spending $205,000 on fluoridating water to improve the dental health of 700,000 residents. The annual savings per resident works out to 29 cents."
Read more of their editorial coverage on the issue of fluoridation here.
The Times Kelly Benham's harrowing account of the birth and survival of her daughter Juniper in "Never Let Go" was a finalist for Feature Writing.
Times staff writer Alex Zayas was a finalist in the Investigative Reporting category for her story "God and punishment intermingle at a reform home for girls in Florida" .
Creative Loafing congratulates all our local finalists and winners.