The Washington Post on Monday won four Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in U.S. journalism.

The Post won for international reporting, feature writing, commentary and criticism.

The New York Times won two Pulitzers, for national reporting and explanatory reporting.

The Pulitzers are given out annually by Columbia University on the recommendation of a board of distinguished journalists and others. Each award carries a $10,000 prize except for the public service award, which is a gold medal.

ProPublica, a non-profit investigative-journalism service, won one of two Pulitzers awarded for investigative reporting for a story on the life-and-death decisions made by doctors at a New Orleans hospital during Hurricane Katrina. The story was in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine.

The other prize for investigative reporting went to the Philadelphia Daily News for exposing a rogue police narcotics squad.

The Seattle Times staff was honoured in the breaking news category for its coverage of the shooting deaths of four police officers in a coffee shop. The Pulitzer for local reporting went to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a series of stories on fraud and abuse in a child-care programme for poor working parents.

The Herald Courier of Bristol, Virginia, won the Pulitzer Prize for public service on Monday for reporting on the mismanagement of natural gas royalties owed to thousands of landowners in Virginia.

The Dallas Morning News won for editorial writing.

Mark Fiore, whose animated cartoons appear on the San Francisco Chronicle Website, SFGate.com, was honoured for editorial cartooning.

The Des Moines Register won for breaking news photography for capturing a rescuer trying to save a woman trapped beneath a dam, and The Denver Post was honoured for feature photography for a portrait of a teenager who joined the Army at the height of insurgent violence in Iraq.

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