Deanne Fitzmaurice, Associated Press Photographers, Win 2005 Pulitzer Prizes For News & Feature Photography

NEW YORK, NY – NPPA member Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle has won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for the serial photographic essay “Operation Lion Heart,” the documentary story of a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who was critically wounded by an explosion, and whose life-saving journey at the hands of U.S. doctors brought him to a hospital in Oakland, CA.

The Associated Press won the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography for their coverage of the war in Iraq with a portfolio of images shot by both staff photographers and stringers inside dangerous Iraqi cities. It's the 29th Pulitzer the Associated Press has won for photography, and their 48th Pulitzer Prize overall.

The finalists for the Feature Photography category included Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune for his essay on Jessica Clements, a U.S. soldier who suffered severe brain damage in Iraq when a roadside bomb tore through a car she was riding in. Gehrz was named NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism 2005 Newspaper Photographer of the Year last week for his portfolio of work, which included the Jessica Clements essay. The other finalist in the Feature Photography category was Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times for his iconic photograph of a U.S. Marine’s face after a daylong battle in Iraq. (Sinco's image also won an Honorable Mention in Portrait and Personality in NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism 2005).

The finalists in the Breaking News category were Arko Datta of Reuters, for his iconic photograph that captured the anguish of a woman mourning the body of a relative in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami (an image that won the World Press Photo of the Year honor for 2004, and an Honorable Mention in International News in NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism 2005); and the staff photographers ofThe Palm Beach Post for their coverage of the hurricanes and tropical storms that struck Florida last year.

Fitzmaurice has been an NPPA member since 1997. Her photographs ran in the Chronicle in a five-part series called "Operation Lion Heart" written by staff writer Meredith May. Doctors had nicknamed the Iraqi boy, Saleh Khalaf, "Lion Heart" for his bravery. The Chronicle reports that Fitzmaurice, 47, has been with the newspaper for 16 years and is married to another staff photographer, Kurt Rogers.

video of Fitzmaurice, along with her coworkers and editors, watching the news wire for the Pulitzer bulletin can be viewed online on in a QuickTime video shot and edited by Grover Sanschagrin. She also has online her winning "Lion Heart" portfolio with extended captions, as well as a portfolio of sports and news photographs shot while on assignment for the Chronicle.

The winning News portfolio from the Associated Press showed what the judges called "a stunning series of photographs of bloody yearlong combat inside Iraqi cities." The photographs in the winning 20-image portfolio were shot by a team of AP staff photographers and stringers, including five Iraqi photojournalists working on their home turf. The photojournalists who shot the winning portfolio are Bilal Hussein, Karim Kadim, Brennan Linsley, Jim MacMillan, Khalid Mohammed, John B. Moore, Muhammed Muheisen, Anja Niedgringhaus, Mohammed Uraibi, Murad Sezer, and an unnamed stringer.

The photograph by the unnamed stringer shows a gunman shooting an Iraqi election worker at point-blank range in the middle of a street in Baghdad. The attackers executed three election workers this way in broad daylight. The photographer's name was not published when the photograph was distributed by AP on December 19, 2004 because of security concerns.

MacMillan is a staff photographer for the Philadelphia Daily News who is covering the war in Iraq for a year for AP while on leave from the newspaper. He's scheduled to be in Iraq until May 2005. MacMillian has shot for AP before, in Boston from 1984 through 1987 as a temporary staff photographer.

The AP reported that Khalid Mohammed and MacMillan were working on assignment in Baghdad today when they received an Instant Message from AP director of photography Santiago Lyon telling them to call New York immediately.

Columbia University said the Pulitzer nominating juries for photography this year were Denis Finley, managing editor of The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, VA; J. Ross Baughman, director of photography for The Washington Times; Eric Newton, director of journalism initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Maimi, FL; Larry Nylund, deputy managing editor for presentation for The Journal News in White Plains, NY; and Janet Reeves, director of photography for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO. The Pulizer Prize comes with a $10,000 award to each category winner.