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Ohio columnist wins Pulitzer Prize, partly for commentary on gay issues

Ohio columnist wins Pulitzer Prize, partly for commentary on gay issues

A columnist for The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary on Monday, giving the newspaper its second Pulitzer and first in more than 50 years. Connie Schultz, who joined Ohio's largest newspaper in 1993, writes a twice-weekly column that touches on emotional issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and homelessness. She was cited "for her pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged." A teary-eyed Schultz wore a tiara and held several bouquets of flowers while in a newsroom filled with celebrating colleagues who sipped champagne and ate a cake shaped like an edition of The Plain Dealer headlined "Connie Schultz Wins Pulitzer." "I enjoy having an opinion," said Schultz, who was a reporter with the paper until 2003. "I get to report on things that drive me crazy and have an opinion about it." Schultz, 47, said she was humbled by the award--journalism's highest honor--having been a columnist for only two years. "It's remarkable a person who was a columnist for such a short period of time would get the prize," said editor Doug Clifton. Schultz submitted 10 columns ranging on topics from the state's ban on same-sex marriage to how management at a local banquet hall was taking money from the tip jar at the coat check. The Plain Dealer is owned by Advance Publications and has a circulation of about 365,000. Schultz two years ago was named a finalist for the feature writing prize for a series she wrote on a man wrongly convicted of rape. The series prompted the true rapist to come forward and confess to the crime. A graduate of Kent State University, Schultz grew up in nearby Ashtabula and worked as a freelance writer for 15 years before joining the paper full-time. She is married to Democratic Ohio congressman Sherrod Brown. Some local media have criticized Schultz, saying she sometimes gives her husband a platform, an accusation Schultz denies. (AP)

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