Los Angeles Times Wins Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing on Homelessness and Mental Illness

Statement of Jim McNulty National Board President, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

Apr 08 2002

Two weeks ago, the movie A Beautiful Mind won the Oscar for "Best Picture." Today, the Los Angeles Times won the Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing for its leadership in addressing issues affecting people with mental illness.

Both represent rare, but important and influential moments, involving professional and public recognition of the world of mental illness.

We are thrilled-but not surprised-that the Pulitzer Committee has awarded Alex Raksin and Bob Sipchen, the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing. In the words of the committee, "their comprehensive and powerfully written editorials exploring the issues and dilemmas" facing people with mental illness who live on the streets.

Last summer, NAMI also honored the Los Angeles Times with its 2001 National Media Award for Outstanding Editorial Writing, with specific recognition given to Alex Raksin, for addressing mental illness issues with fairness, sensitivity and accuracy. We praised the newspaper for its sustained, constant commentary, identifying and explaining issues in a way that helped to build public support for legislative reform.

At least one-third of all people who are homeless suffer from severe mental illness. The Los Angeles Times has been a model of leadership and civic responsibility. In clarity, style, reasoning and moral purpose, it clearly has fulfilled the standards for the Pulitzer Prize. But just remember: you heard it from NAMI first.