Baby, Pulitzer top Oklahoma City native Anthony Shadid's week

BY JAMES S. TYREE
Published: April 14, 2010

Three months after escaping injury from bombs that rocked his house in Baghdad, Oklahoma City native Anthony Shadid is stateside celebrating the birth of his son Saturday and the Monday announcement of his second Pulitzer Prize.

Shadid received the 2004 and 2010 Pulitzer Prizes for international reporting for his coverage of Iraq for the Washington Post, but he recently joined his reporter wife Nada Bakri at the New York Times.

They live in Cambridge, Mass., when not working overseas.
"My wife is my hero," Shadid told The Oklahoman Tuesday in a telephone conversation. "She was seven months pregnant in Baghdad before she left, and she worked pretty much through her pregnancy, including near the end when three bombs went off near our office at the house.

"They shattered every window in the house," he said, "and to her credit, she showed a lot of courage."
He plans to stay in Cambridge through April before returning to Iraq alone. In December, he will become the Time's bureau chief in Beirut.
Shadid said winning this year's Pulitzer Prize felt different from 2004 because "I really didn't have an inkling that I was a finalist." He had no idea until word leaked Friday that he won, nine hours before his son, Malik, was born. "A friend of mine, an editor, said the baby will always have the distinction of saying a Pulitzer was the second-best thing that happened to his daddy this week," Shadid said.
The circumstances in Iraq and level of interest among Americans also have changed since Shadid's last Pulitzer. War was ratcheting up when he wrote his earlier prize-winning articles, whereas his stories in 2009 dealt with issues people face as U.S. military involvement begins to wind down.
"One of the things I wanted to do as a journalist last year was to write against that narrative in a way, that the war is still going on," he said. "I want people to understand that there is an aftermath, and I want people to understand what that has done to Iraq."
Shadid said being a foreign correspondent still is important to him despite the danger at some locations and the strain it can put on one's personal life. He said he still wants to bring a fresh voice and perspective to news coverage of the Middle East that he saw was lacking, and he wants to do it as long as newspaper opportunities will allow it.
"When you look at foreign correspondents, we're probably the last generation to do it the way it's been done in the past," he said. "It's just getting too expensive to do it, so I guess it's the responsibility and opportunity that keep me going."
Shadid is a Heritage Hall graduate and former University of Oklahoma student who still has many relatives in the metro area. He said one of his favorite spots anywhere is still a family-owned country house near a pond outside Guthrie.

Read more: The Oklahoman