Best Cursebreaker

Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer

Schultz got robbed in 2003. Her "Burden of Innocence" series, which told the tragic tale of a man wrongfully convicted of rape, was perhaps the best piece of journalism produced in this town in a quarter-century. But the pointy heads at Columbia University, who administer the Pulitzer Prizes, snubbed our local gal. Not to worry; she went right back to work, grinding out the thrice-weekly column that's often the highlight of the paper, and this year brought redemption. Schultz won the Pulitzer for commentary, becoming the first Plain Dealer staffer to win the honor in more than 50 years, effectively ending the curse that had long hung over the newsroom. Her victory brought relief to a city starved for some kind of national recognition that doesn't involve poverty. For her part, Schultz thanked her colleagues and readers, employing the warmth and grace that make her such a joy to read.