By John Ensslin | October 4th, 2011
Amy Ellis Nutt of the Star-Ledger of New Jersey was our guest on a recent episode of Studio SPJ.
Nutt talked about her story “The Wreck of the Lady Mary,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in April. The 20-page special section told the story of the sinking of a scallop boat off the coast of Cape May that left six dead.
She also discussed her new book “Shadows Bright as Glass” which tells the story of a man who suffered a brain trauma that led him to become an artist.
Nutt talked about the day she learned that she had won her Pulitzer in this excerpt from the broadcast.
“Honestly it was a complete surprise. In this day and age, I think that’s unusual.
“We had sort of received word that I was not a finalist. It’s something that’s not made public, but newspapers have a way of finding out these things.
“And so it was my belief that I was not even a finalist. I wasn’t even thinking about it that day. That Monday was supposed to be a day off for me because I worked on the weekend.
“So my editors had to trick me into coming in. There was a publisher’s meeting and I was thinking, my God, what’s going to happen? Are there going to be more cutbacks?
“So if you’ve seen any of the photos or videos I was wearing sneakers and a hoodie.
“Q: I thought that was basic Star-Ledger gear.
“A: Well, you know, sometimes it is for me, on Fridays and weekends it’s very dressed down for me. But I was just coming in for the meeting. Then I was going to go back home.
“ So it was a tremendous surprise and exhilaration. They had called my family unbeknown to me so that both my parents and two of my sisters and a brother-in-law were there, which was just marvelous. It was wonderful for the paper.”
The Oct. 1 program was sponsored by the New Jersey pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
To hear the entire 30-minute broadcast, go to: