Another IUP Alumna Scores a Pulitzer Prize

Posted on 4/25/2019 12:46:10 PM

Paula Reed Ward Paula Reed Ward ’96 is part of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette team that won a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for its coverage of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. 

And that win makes four.

The IUP Journalism and Public Relations Department is beyond proud to now claim four Pulitzer Prize-winning alumni: Ward (2019); Susan Snyder ’85 (2012); Alysia Burton Steele ’97 (2006) and Madelyn Ross ’71 (1986 and 1987). 

Susan Snyder “I am so humbled and proud to chair a department whose current work and legacy helped to grow four Pulitzer Prize-winning women; but more importantly, I’m thrilled to know and work with these women to create future, stellar journalists,” says department chairwoman Michele Papakie. “These alumnae are changing the world with their words. They make a difference every, single day with their talent, and they come back to visit IUP regularly to help us to shape future, award-winning writers. Journalism is alive and well, and I hope our students in these classroom seats at IUP today realize their own potential by interacting with these women and following in their incredible footsteps.” 

Ward, the author of Death by Cyanide: The Murder of Dr. Autumn Klein, has been a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette since 2003. Prior to her current position, she was a reporter at the Savannah Morning News and the Pottsville (PA) Republican & Evening Herald. She has covered more than a dozen capital murder trials.

Snyder, who won her Pulitzer Prize for Public Service as part of a team that investigated violence in the Philadelphia School District, has worked as a general assignment reporter for the Freeman’s Journal in Cooperstown, New York; the Standard Speaker in Hazleton; as an education reporter for the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre; and for the Morning Call in Allentown prior to her current work at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Snyder received a Distinguished Alumni Award from IUP in 2013.

Alyssa Burton Steele Steele earned her Pulitzer from her work as part of a team covering Hurricane Katrina at the Dallas Morning News. She is the author of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom, which features 54 portraits and interviews with various “church mothers” and oral histories of Jim Crow Mississippi, such as stories about the Civil Rights Movement. The book has been touted in major national publications such as USA Today, the New York Times, and National Public Radio and has received praise from activist Gloria Steinem. Steele worked for more than 12 years as a photojournalist at various newspapers, including the Columbus Dispatch and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Steele is also an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism.

Madelyn Ross Madelyn Ross was managing editor of the Pittsburgh Press when it won consecutive Pulitzer Prizes in 1986 and 1987. She had worked her way up through the ranks at the Pittsburgh Press, working as a feature writer, suburban reporter, copy editor, assistant city editor, and special assignments editor before being named managing editor in 1984. She was the first women in the history of Scripps-Howard newspapers to be promoted to managing editor, a position she held until 1992. After a lengthy newspaper strike in 1992, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette purchased the Pittsburgh Press. Ross was hired as managing editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1992 and left that position in April of 2005 to serve as associate vice chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh. She retired from that work in 2013. Ross is a 1988 recipient of the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award.

These award-winning graduates continue to be actively engaged with IUP, especially with their department. Ward, Snyder, and Steele all returned to IUP, most recently in October 2018 to participate in a regional Collegiate Media Summit the department hosted. Both Ward and Steele have done presentations and book-signings for their alma mater throughout the years. Snyder served as the department’s commencement speaker in 2012, and Ward will be back on campus inspiring this spring’s graduating class at 7:00 p.m. May 10 in Waller Hall.