Pulitzer Prize Winner

The Miami Herald’s Letter to the Pulitzer Prize Board:

It takes an extraordinary reporter to cover crime in Miami.

Meet Edna Buchanan.

They don’t make cop reporters like her anymore. If they ever did. She is a savvy, fast, tough, hard-as-nails cop reporter with a heart of gold. True. Absolutely.

If you asked Edna about her work, she’d tell you to read first her dailies, the quick hits, the deadline pieces: the father who killed his comatose daughter in her hospital bed; the former boxing champ who hanged himself from a tree; the ocean reef researchers who ruined their whole day when they found a corpse in the bay; the beloved bag lady who died on the steps of a church; and, not illogically perhaps, the nude man who threw his girlfriend’s head at a cop, who threw it back.

For all the gore, they are a fascinating reflection of a dynamic and troubled city in transition. Not much happens in the world of crime in Miami that Edna Buchanan does not hear about and write about, day after day. By computer count of bylines she wrote 263 stories in 1983, 239 in 1984 and 200 in 1985.

Last year Edna took considerable time on some of her local takeouts and libel-sensitive stories that required thorough research, scrutiny, repeated interviews and patience. She broke the story about interstate-95 crime—and thus solved the problem for a terrorized city; she warned the unknowing people of Dade about the Pillowcase Rapist; and reported at length the story of Widow Elkins, whose husbands kept dying.

In truth Edna Buchanan does not write about cops. She writes about people. To the Miami Herald, she is a natural resource and treasure.

We are proud to nominate her for the Pulitzer Prize for general news reporting. We believe she deserves the honor.


The Pulitzer Prize Board agreed.


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