McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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Grad’s Hip-Hop Story Wins Pulitzer Nomination

The benchmark of success in journalism is being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and 1989 UC graduate Glenn Gamboa knows what it feels like to achieve that distinction.

Date: 6/20/2005
By: Billie Dziech
Phone: 513 / 556.1707
Story by Holly Holmes, A&S Journalism Intern

The benchmark of success in journalism is being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and 1989 UC graduate Glenn Gamboa knows what it feels like to achieve that distinction. As head-writer on a five-day series for Newsday, he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. The award recognizes writers whose work “illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing, and clear presentation.”

Through a historical lens, Gamboa and his team chronicled the impact of hip-hop music on pop culture, business, race relations and law enforcement. The series covered the world of hip-hop, from the monetary success of controversial “gangsta rap,” to the presence of women in the industry, and to the political implications of the art. It took an in-depth look at the “it” people in the field and the influences that propelled them to fame.

“When the rumors began about the hip-hop series being a Pulitzer finalist, I thought it was an elaborate joke,” said Gamboa. “I never would have dreamed that the series would have been recognized by the Pulitzer board, but I was thrilled when it was.”

Gamboa earned a BA in English and a certificate in journalism. He currently lives in Brooklyn, where he has been a pop music writer for Newsday since 2000. He used the skills he learned in college to help him along the way, but this story demanded even more. “It led me to hip-hop hotspots in L.A., Miami, rural North Dakota, suburban Detroit, and all over New York City and Long Island. It was a quirky series that involved some criticism; plus arts, police, and business reporting, and even travel writing. All in all, I think it turned out pretty well.”

“Pretty well” may be an understatement. Gamboa has made a name for himself and in the process, helped to put his college on the map

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