Meet the Fil-Am journalism student who just became Pulitzer Prize winner

NEW YORK — A 23-year-old Fil-Am journalism student won the most prestigious award for journalists -– a Pulitzer Prize.

“I can’t believe that it’s real, I’m grateful to The Enquirer for putting the interns on there, and recognizing everyone in the newsroom, it’s an encouraging pat on the back,” says Mariel Padilla.

Before getting accepted into a Master’s program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Padilla spent a summer interning for The Cincinnati Enquirer in Ohio.

Her contribution to the story: “Seven Days of Heroin” – played a part in winning the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in the local reporting category.

Padilla says as a breaking news intern, she looked at arrest slips in an Ohio jail and found those that are related to the opioid epidemic.

“I would take pictures of them and go back to the office, and I created a database for all these information could be shared with all the other journalists, so that information ended up being used at the end, during the writing process I also did a couple of interviews.”

The story won for its “riveting and insightful narrative and video documenting seven days of greater Cincinnati’s heroin epidemic.”

“My writing could really help people in the community; that’s what I fell in love with journalism,” Padilla says.

With her journalism studies almost done, Padilla recently accepted a fellowship opportunity with Sheila Coronel – the Fil-Am dean of academic affairs, and director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University.

“I’ll be working with her for 6 months on a project related to the Philippines, but the details are still being worked out.”

Another Filipino journalist, Manual Mogato of Reuters, also won a 2018 Pulitzer for a story “that exposed the brutal killing campaign behind Philippine president Duterte’s war on drugs.

Past Pulitzer prize-winning Filipinos include Jose Antonio Vargas, Alex Tizon, and Carlos P. Romulo.

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