Skip to Content

USC journalism alum wins second Pulitzer

man gestures while speaking at a podium

Josh Dawsey, a 2012 University of South Carolina journalism and Honors College graduate, added a second quill to his Pulitzer cap when Columbia University on May 6 announced that Dawsey and his Washington Post colleagues would receive the coveted 2024 prize in the category of National Reporting. Dawsey and co-authors penned “A gun that divides a nation” and "A Southern town embraces its AR-15 factory," which were among 15 Post articles honored in the category. The series of articles comprehensively explored America’s gun history and culture.

“It is an incredible honor to win the Pulitzer Prize with so many generous and heroic colleagues who produced thoughtful, meaningful and at times gut-wrenching work,” said Dawsey. “We wanted our readers to fully understand the powerful AR-15, an American icon that is both reviled and revered, and to reckon with the violence it has wrought in mass shootings across the country. The response to the work from Americans was by far the most gratifying part of the project. I am lucky to call The Washington Post my professional home.”

The article Dawsey co-authored describes the unlikely ascension of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle from lethal, combat weapon to mainstream bestseller by way of a sustained strategy by its manufacturers and the nation’s gun lobby. Gun sales soared to $11 billion, and the authors estimate that about one in 20 U.S. adults (16 million people) own at least one AR-15. Unfortunately, it is often the weapon of choice in mass shootings across this country in recent years.

“I am grateful to the University of South Carolina, as always, for my four years there and for giving me such warm memories and lifelong friendships."

Josh Dawsey, '12 journalism

Before Dawsey joined the Post in 2017, he covered the White House for The Wall Street Journal and Politico. He won his first Pulitzer in the Public Service category in 2022 for his role in the Post’s investigative coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Dawsey’s began his career as editor of The Aynor Journal at age 17. He went on to study journalism at USC, where he served as editor of The Daily Gamecock. While at USC, he was named the South Carolina Press Association’s Collegiate Journalist of the Year and was an SCPA Foundation intern at The Island Packet of Hilton Head.

Dawsey is thankful for the strong bonds he made with USC faculty and administrators who inspired him to reach great heights in the journalism profession.

“I am grateful to the University of South Carolina, as always, for my four years there and for giving me such warm memories and lifelong friendships. I want to thank, in particular, Charles Bierbauer, Chrysti Shain, Rob Wells and Doug Fisher for mentoring, teaching, and maybe most importantly, tolerating me. Dr. Pastides and Dr. Amiridis and many others in the university administration also accepted my nagging presence, even if they didn't always like what I wrote. My time editing The Daily Gamecock and studying in the journalism school convinced me that I wanted to be a journalist. I will always have eternal gratitude to USC.”

Banner image: Josh Dawsey speaks at the 2022 Buchheit Family Lecture.