ON MONDAY AFTERNOON, Mariel Padilla, a master’s student at Columbia Journalism School, sat around a table with classmates, listening to Professor Giannina Segnini lead a discussion about email encryption for reporting across borders. A couple floors below, journalism bigwigs and other members of the press crowded into the World Room, an ornate, high-ceilinged chamber reserved for the event, eager to watch Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy announce this year’s winners. For Padilla, who moved to New York last year from the small town of Oxford, Ohio, just being in geographic proximity to the announcement was a thrill.
“I knew I was going to be two floors above where it was happening,” she says, reflecting on the moment, “and I remember thinking, Oh, that’s cool, I can tell people that I was in the same building [where] the Pulitzers are being announced!”
Little did she know she was about to become a Pulitzer winner herself.
If it was me, I think I’d have interrupted class to break the news that a fellow student had won.