Father-Son Duo in Alabama Wins Pulitzer, Bucking Headwinds in Local News

John Archibald's son, Ramsey, is a successful journalist in Birmingham, Ala.

Father-Son Duo in Alabama Wins Pulitzer, Bucking Headwinds in Local News

John Archibald had a great year in 2018 when he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize by Alabama Media Group. This is the biggest news publisher in Alabama.

He did it again on Monday. He won the second prize for local reporting as part of an investigative team that included his son Ramsey Archibald.

In an interview, Mr. Archibald (60) said, "I am stunned." The announcement of the award was made at that time. It's an honor. It's a great honor to be able to do this with your child.

AL.com, a four-person newsroom that included Ashley Remkus, Challen Stevens and Ashley Remkus as investigative editors, won one of two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday. This is an incredible feat for a newsroom consisting of 110 journalists. The organization won the commentary award for the columns of Kyle Whitmire. A political columnist, Whitmire examined how Alabama's Confederate past still affects today.

In an era when readers are abandoning traditional print media and corporate owners are closing newsrooms to cut costs, there is less financial support for news organizations that can investigate local governments and provide top-notch journalism.

AL.com is navigating these economic headwinds. Alabama Media Group, owned by Advance Local, an American newspaper chain, used to publish three papers: The Birmingham News and Mobile's Press-Register, as well as The Huntsville Times. Kelly Ann Scott announced in February, AL.com’s editor-in-chief, that the company will stop printing these newspapers. She cited changing reader and advertising habits. Readers of these newspapers were directed to AL.com.

In an interview with Ms. Scott on Monday, she said that Alabama Media Group has more journalists now than five years ago.

Ms. Scott stated that local journalism is so important right now in America. It's great to hear stories and comments like these from people who are passionate about their hometowns.

Ramsey Archibald (31), a data journalist for Alabama Media Group joined his father, Ms. Remkus, in January 2022. This was a few months after the project began. The team investigated tips which accused the Brookside police force of preying upon residents in order to increase revenue. These stories led to the resignation of Brookside's police chief, and triggered a state audit.

The Pulitzer is Ms. Remkus' second Pulitzer, she won the award in 2021 as well for an investigation that lasted a full year into the harm police dogs cause to Americans. In an interview, Ms. Remkus stated that it was only after her second Pulitzer win that she realized that the first one wasn't a fluke. She adopted a cat named Samuel Pulitzer Seaborn to celebrate her prize.

Ms. Remkus said she was optimistic for the future of local journalism in Alabama, despite the recent decision by the company to stop printing newspaper.

Ms. Remkus paused to allow Samuel in before saying, 'Whether you're publishing it online or through a newspaper, the journalism is what matters.' 'And I do not think that the method of delivery is stopping us from doing this work.'

Ramsey Archibald, who lives in Birmingham, celebrated his Pulitzer award on Monday. In an interview, he said that the investigation of Brookside was primarily done through personal visits to the town and telephone calls and videoconferences with his colleagues because his company hadn't yet implemented a formal plan for returning to work. Alabama Media Group staff in Birmingham is currently between newsrooms, which prevents the team from drinking champagne under fluorescent lights.

John Archibald admitted that he was worried about his son's future in the journalism business, which has suffered from economic uncertainty for several decades. He said that he had learned from past experience that it is futile to try and stop his son.

He was also out of town when Ramsey Archibald got hired.

John Archibald stated, 'I wouldn't discourage him because I know from my own experience that what matters most is the kind of satisfaction you get out of your job.'