BY BOB HOLT
The Pulitzer Prize winners were announced Monday, and small California newspaper Daily Breeze had their first winners.
There was only one small matter. The lead reporter on the winning story, Rob Kuznia, wasn’t available. He doesn’t work at the Daily Breeze any more.
The Los Angeles Times reported that reporters Kuznia and Rebecca Kimitch won a Pulitzer for a 6-month investigation into possible corruption in the Centinela Valley Union High School District. Their work saw the removal of well-paid school superintendent Jose Fernandez.
But The Washington Post reported that Kuzia took a public relations position with USC’s Shoah Foundation last August that offered him a 25 percent pay raise. Regarding his journalism earnings, Kuznia said, “I could afford the rent. I needed more financial stability.”
CNN Money reported that Kuznia joined the Daily Breeze in 2010 and the newsroom had to take a 5.5% pay cut not long afterward. Meanwhile, the cost of benefits kept increasing. “It's the kind of thing if I was in my 20's I would have been OK with,” said Kuznia, 39. “But I was approaching 40, so it was scary."