Letters about the Pulitzer Prize

Hearty congratulations on your receipt of the Pulitzer Prize! I enclose the Los Angeles Time’s article from this morning for your affirmation and enjoyment!

A native of Sioux Center, Iowa and yes, the son of a highly influential former mayor of 34 years, Maurice A. TePaske, I grew up keenly aware of the important role that a progressive newspaper of conscience plays in reflecting, enhancing and even guiding local values. Big ripples can emanate from a small committed source!

I was also privileged to be a friend of Sioux County’s own answer to Studs Terkel (perhaps to John Steinbeck!) Harold Aardema, publisher of the unique and very Dutch Doon Press, who always showed us how much soul a small paper can send in all directions. I’m thrilled to see your confrontation of both Big Agra and the cheap, toxic and injurious racist spew of a man like Representative Steve King. (I won’t even get started about Cargill or Monsanto the Kings of Ecocide!)

A grateful Iowa landowner by inheritance, my people all arrived as immigrants from Holland. My Grandmother TePaske taught free English classes two nights a week for new comers for years. Your focus on immigrants and school diversity resonates in beautiful multicultural Los Angeles. Admiration from afar to you in Storm Lake!


Pacific Palisades, Calif.



And thanks for making my bragging about the hometown paper an easier sell. The bunch here in central North Carolina is jaded, but now they are showing some respect.

I picked up the NPR interview partway through on my car radio. Realizing it was you I nearly drove off the road. Five minutes later, at my next stop, my pal said he heard the radio report and we swapped tales about famous people we know. I’m digging out my Storm Lake Times T-shirt after finishing this note; planning to wear it to my next stretching session at the Duke facility. Screw Carolina, this is way bigger than any mere NCAA championship.

Your brothers, wife and colleagues are no doubt proud of you. I wonder if Mabel the Newshound will show any enthusiasm, she seems to remain consistently unexcited.

A year ago I got a subscription to the Progressive Populist for a buddy. He likes it a lot, but he won’t say so to me; another friend squealed. I’m not going to mention your prize to this guy (a former editor and lawyer) to see how long he can restrain a smart ass or disparaging remark.



Pittsboro, N.C.


I am so happy for you!

The Pulitzer is a validation of so many things you, John and The Times have stood for over the years, but the first thing that comes to mind is... courage.

Courage to change the face of journalism in BV County almost 30 years ago, but also, the fearlessness in your writing which holds the powerful accountable.

That’s a lesson for any aspiring (or frankly, veteran) journalist these days.

Thank you for that.



KWWL Today in Iowa Anchor, Waterloo