Pulitzer Winner Mark Schoofs Leaves Voice

Seasoned reporter joins Wall Street Journal and returns to Africa on assignment.

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Mark Schoofs has quit his position at the Village Voice and accepted a job at the Wall Street Journal, the country’s largest circulation newspaper.

Journal spokesman Richard Tofel said Schoofs started Aug. 1 as the paper’s second correspondent based in Africa. According to Jim Romenesko’s Media News web site, Schoofs has been sent to the Congo on assignment and isn’t due back until early September.

Schoofs was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his 28,000-word, eight-part series, “AIDs: The Agony of Africa,” which ran late last year in the Village Voice. The seasoned health reporter spent more than six months in Africa researching and writing about the epidemic, a topic that has attracted front-page coverage from the mainstream media since Schoofs won the prestigious honor.

The Pulitzer Board called Schoofs’ series “provocative and enlightening.”

Village Voice Editor Donald Forst said Schoofs accepted the Journal’s job offer because it was attached to a significant pay increase and the promise of a larger audience. Forst said he was prepared to match the Journal’s salary offer, but had no way to compete with its broad reach of over 1 million daily readers.

“We had a very good relationship,” Forst said. “It was a very friendly parting. He was sad. I was sad. … He is a wonderful reporter. A wonderful colleague.”

Forst said Schoofs last Village Voice article would appear in next week’s issue.

Schoofs, 37, had covered science and medicine for the Voice since 1995. Prior to that, he was the editor-in-chief for Windy City Times, a gay and lesbian publication in Chicago. He has been writing about AIDS for 13 years.

Shortly after winning the Pulitzer, Schoofs said he would donate half of the $5,000 prize money to AIDS organizations based in Africa. In honor of Schoofs’ series, AAN donated $3,578 to Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria from silent auction proceeds.

Schoofs’ series earned the Voice its third Pulitzer Prize. Teresa Carpenter won the first in 1981 for feature writing, and in 1986, Jules Feiffer won for his political cartooning. The Boston Phoenix is the only other Pulitzer-winning AAN paper, with Lloyd Schwartz awarded the prize in 1994 for classical music criticism.

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