NJ Book Wins Pulitzer, Reporters Named Finalists

Two separate in-depth investigations by journalists working in New Jersey have been recognized by the Pulitzer Prize committee.

Dan Fagin won the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction for his book Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation.

Fagin, a science journalism professor at New York University, has previously worked with two reporting teams that were finalists for the Pulitzer. His book, published in 2013 by Bantam Books, details a cluster of Toms River childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution, culminating in one of the largest toxic dumping legal settlements in history.

Fagin chronicles 60 years and his work earned rave reviews, with the New York Times calling it a “new classic of scientific reporting.”

The Pulitzer committee agreed, saying the book “deftly combines investigative reporting and historical research to probe a New Jersey seashore town’s cluster of childhood cancers linked to water and air pollution.” Along with top prize, Fagin was awarded $10,000.

Also receiving acknowledgement were Rebecca D. O’Brien and Thomas Mashberg of The Record in Woodland Park, who were finalists for local reporting for their coverage of  New Jersey’s heroin epidemic. The Pulitzer committee called their reporting a “jarring exposure of how heroin has permeated the suburbs of northern New Jersey, profiling addicts and anguished families and mapping the drug pipeline from South America to their community.”

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