Lisa Krantz wins Pulitzer Prize

Many survivors of the Sutherland Springs mass shooting still carry trauma from that day with them. This photo by Lisa Krantz was part of The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning package, “American Icon.”
Portrait of Lisa Krantz
Lisa Krantz

May 14, 2024
Contact: Courtney Perrett,

University of Missouri doctoral student Lisa Krantz is part of a team of journalists awarded a 2024 Pulitzer Prize last week.

Krantz and more than 75 of her colleagues at The Washington Post were awarded the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for a 15-part series titled “American Icon,” which traced the destruction caused by mass shootings involving the AR-15 firearm. Krantz contributed numerous moving photographs to a story in the series titled “A tragedy without end.” It examined the lives of the survivors of the 2017 church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas — the largest shooting in a U.S. house of worship.

Also on the team of Washington Post journalists honored for work on the project were Missouri Journalism alumni Deputy National Editor Tim Elfrink, B.J. ’05; Deputy National Editor Amy Fiscus, B.J. ’03; and Photo Editor Monique Woo, B.J. ‘18, M.A. ’20.

Tough lessons, big rewards

A journalist with a storied career in trauma reporting and photojournalism spanning two decades, Krantz said the Pulitzer win is a meaningful way to elevate the work she considers vital for people to experience.

“It’s an honor to be included with this team of journalists,” said Krantz, also a teaching fellow at the Missouri School of Journalism. “The ‘American Icon’ project speaks to how journalists cover mass shootings, which is the subject I spend my time researching at Mizzou. Knowing that I have a part in raising awareness for the people of Sutherland Springs and telling their story, including how they’re still affected by this horrific tragedy, is really meaningful to me.”

For Krantz, winning a Pulitzer is emblematic of the importance of photojournalism and its strong legacy at the Missouri School of Journalism.

“I’ve been surrounded by wonderfully supportive professors at Mizzou who listened to me talk endlessly about how to cover traumatic events,” Krantz said. “What’s really special about this project is that it represents what we teach students. It’s an example of translating the skills we learn in the classroom into telling the stories of real people. I hope it’s inspiring.”

Frank and Sherri Pomeroy tour Mizzou's campus after sharing their experiences with journalism students.

Building relationships with sources on stories such as “A tragedy without end” pays off. One of Krantz’s most memorable days at Mizzou was having the pastor of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Frank Pomeroy, and his wife, Sherri Pomeroy, visit campus. The Pomeroys met with journalism students and shared what it was like engaging with journalists after the shooting at their church.

“The students expressed being deeply affected by their stories,” Krantz said. “Some of the students said hearing the Pomeroys speak prompted them to take my trauma class this semester.”

Tackling the future with the past in mind

Krantz will wrap up her doctoral degree this June before taking up a teaching appointment at the University of Montana. She said she’s thankful for the opportunities Mizzou has provided her and believes they have given her a fresh vision for teaching trauma-informed journalism to new generations of students.

Krantz believes that despite the tragic nature of the work she and her colleagues were honored for, the recognition is important.

“Stories get more exposure as a result of an award,” Krantz said. “People are now saying ‘I’m looking up those stories,’ so this work has become available to a much wider audience than it had before. The Pulitzer is an award that most people know outside of journalism; it catches their attention, and then they’ll look at the work, which they might not otherwise have seen. Mizzou has given me the additional encouragement to tackle this work both in the classroom and in the world outside of it.”

Editor's note

Several Missouri Journalism alumni were finalists in this year’s Pulitzer competition: David R. Corder, B.J. ’84, for local reporting; Lexi Churchill, B.J. ’19, for explanatory reporting; and Andrew Leland, M.A. ’18, for memoir or autobiography.

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