April 26, 2019

Susanne Craig's path to a Pulitzer; join keynote speaker at Alumni Weekend Sept. 7

How a UCalgary political science student went from chasing Gauntlet assignments to winning a famous journalism award at the New York Times

An investigative journalist whose career traces back to a University of Calgary education in political science and reporting assignments for The Gauntlet student newspaper has won a Pulitzer Prize.

Susanne Craig, BA’91, along with fellow New York Times reporters David Barstow and Russ Buettner, received a Pulitzer in the explanatory reporting category for their exhaustive 18-month investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump’s finances.

Craig currently works as an investigative reporter at The Times, following stints at The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, the Calgary Herald, and other leading newspapers. She earned her reputation as an astute observer of the interplay of finance and politics with her coverage of the 2008 financial crisis.

Craig, who received an honorary degree from the University of Calgary on June 5, credits her career success with her start at The Gauntlet, where she covered student union politics, dinner theatre, movie reviews, and more. “It’s hard to explain, but I knew from the time I wrote my first story that this was what I wanted to do,” Craig wrote in an email. “I just fell in love with reporting.”

The journalist will return to the University of Calgary in the fall, as a featured speaker for Alumni Weekend Sept. 5 to 7, 2019. Read more about the keynote speaker event on Sept. 7.

The Times’ investigation began in 2016, when Craig anonymously received a package of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return. “Something just doesn’t add up,” Craig recalled. “We started digging, which led to more questions and to sources and documents and more documents,” she said in an email.

Over 18 months, the trio combed through 100,000 pages of documents. Their work “debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddle with tax dodges,” the Pulitzer Prize board said.

In The Times newsroom on April 15, when the Pulitzer winners were announced, Craig thanked both Barstow and Buettner as well as “the amazing group of people who stood with us for 18 long, often difficult, months as we moved the story to the press. This project certainly had its moments. Today, I am glad we are bound together by what we achieved.”

Craig also saluted her sources. “I wish they could stand here today with us,” she said. “Some took great risk to get us the information we needed to expose the truth — and, as people in power work to hide the truth, sources become even more important to what we do. They deserve safe harbour and to know they are in good hands.

“I am thankful for ours and share this prize with them today.”

Read a column written by Susanne Craig for Alumni Magazine about what went into breaking this story.