FilAm Journalism Student Wins Pulitzer

After graduating, Mariel Padilla will be joining The Trace, a nonprofit news organization, as a fellow. She will be investigating gun violence. (Photo via The FilAm)

The FilAm’s Cristina DC Pastor speaks to the Pulitzer Prize-winner who found out she won while sitting in a journalism class.

Columbia data journalism student, and contributing writer for The FilAm, Mariel Padilla, 23, had been an intern at The Cincinnati Enquirer and was part of the 60-person team that won the award.

She was attending class on April 20 when a friend texted, asking if she knew she won the Pulitzer. The investigative article, “Seven Days of Heroin,” by The Cincinnati Enquirer won in the Local Reporting category. Mariel, then an intern at the Enquirer, was part of the team that produced, in the words of the Pulitzer judges, the “riveting and insightful narrative and video about Cincinnati’s heroin epidemic.”

More texts and emails followed. Mariel was excited, in shock, but she was in class listening to her professor and, “I didn’t want to interrupt the class.” Her editor at the Enquirer Bob Strickley confirmed with a text: “Congratulations. You’re a Pulitzer winner.”

Right away, she texted her family to say the Enquirer just won the Pulitzer “so I kinda won too.”

For more on what led Padilla to journalism, and details on the database she created for the winning story after daily visits to the county jail, go to The FilAm.

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