Former Westporter Tyler Hicks Wins the Pulitzer Prize

Tyler Hicks, a former Westporter who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news photography. (Photo: Pulitzer Prize website)
Tyler Hicks, a former Westporter who won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news photography. (Photo: Pulitzer Prize website)
New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks, who grew up in Westport, won this year's Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography, the latest, grand twist in a career in which he's covered wars, been declared missing and took a colleague's body out of Syria.

You can see several of the photographs that won him the Pulitzer Prize here.

In September 2013, Somali terrorists entered the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in a massacre that killed more than 70 people. Hicks entered the mall while the terrorists were still there.

"The conversation was like no other I have ever had as an editor" wrote David Furst, a New York Times editor, about Hicks' call to him during the massacre. "Many times photographers have called in while in danger, or under pressure, or just because they needed someone to talk to. But never has someone called in to notify me of a breaking news event, kept the phone on his ear, narrated the violent scene unfolding in front of him in real time, all the while with a camera pressed up against his face."

According to a New York Times article on the Pulitzer award for both Hicks and another Times photographer, who won in the feature category, Hicks "passes the mall, now bullet ridden and boarded up, almost every day. Each time, he says, it brings back memories of the attack."

Hicks graduated from Staples High School and went on to get a degree in journalism from Boston University before working as a photographer for various newspapers, including the New York Times.

Hicks won a Westport Arts Award in 2012, but couldn't leave Kenya to attend the awards ceremony.  In a video he made thanking the judges, Hicks said, "The more time I spend living and working abroad, the more I miss Westport and the more I appreciate my time there when I'm home for a visit [...]"

In a 2004 article published by the Connecticut Post just after Hicks had published a book of his photography, reporter Brian Lockhart wrote:

"During a recent slide show at the Westport Public Library, Hicks said that, after spending so much time living among Afghanis and Iraqis, it was difficult when he was imbedded with American troops who bragged about shooting the enemy."

In 2011, Hicks and three other New York Times journalists, including Westport native Lyndsey Addario, were taken hostage, but were released after six days.

"On Feb. 16, 2012, in Syria, Mr. Hicks was with Anthony Shadid, The Times’s Beirut bureau chief and twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, when Mr. Shadid died, apparently from asthma," states Hicks' biography page on the Pulitzer Prize website. "Mr. Hicks carried Mr. Shadid’s body across the border to Turkey."


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