Before he even had a chance to cross the stage in May, University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate student Charles Minshew was recognized, along with the Denver Post news team, with a Pulitzer Prize.
On Monday, Minshew and the entire Denver Post news team won a Pulitzer Prize for the team’s coverage of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings last summer.
Minshew was a web producing intern at the Post on July 20, 2012, but when he woke up around 5:30 a.m. to the news on the radio, he voluntarily went to the office to get to work with the rest of the already busy staff.
“It was nonstop, but everybody had a cool head on their shoulders,” Minshew said. “Everybody was calm about it. We knew that we had a job to do for people in Denver, people in Aurora, and people all across the country, to tell this story the best way possible.”
To help tell that story, Minshew and Online and Social Media Producer Daniel Schneider created a virtual timeline of events for online readers to follow the story chronologically with maps photos and up-to-the-hour updates.
The Pulitzer Prize award specifically highlighted the timeline the award for breaking news coverage.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Pulitzer board for our work, but at the same time it really is emotional for me,” Minshew said. “I’m honored to be a part of this team that won this Pulitzer Prize. But we have to remember that nobody likes to cover these kinds of tragedies.”
Minshew said covering the shootings taught him that while it is alright for journalists to get emotional, journalists cannot let the emotion compromise their reporting.
“What I think I learned the most is that you need to be working with a great team to be successful in these kinds of stories,” Minshew said. “It taught me how to handle a crisis. It taught me how to do my best even when everything is being thrown at me.”
Minshew also said that it was a rewarding experience serving the community with accurate, detailed information, rather than just rushing to be first.
“As a lot of people have said at The Post, our editor Greg Moore said it, we wish July 20 had never happened,” Minshew said. “But, it did, and everyone stepped up and did the best for the community.”