HUFFPO’S BIG PRIZE: If any more were needed, AOL on Monday received further validation of its purchase of The Huffington Post — and for putting more power in the hands of Arianna Huffington. Standing on top of a cardboard box in HuffPo’s newsroom, Huffington revealed on Monday afternoon that HuffPo had won its first Pulitzer, for national reporting by David Wood. His 10-part series, “Beyond the Battlefield: The War Goes On for the Severely Wounded,” reported on wounded Afghanistan veterans and their families.

In New York, there were Champagne toasts while Wood and staffers in Washington passed around cans of Natty Light. “It’s an important affirmation not just of David’s work and Tim O’Brien’s work but everyone in the newsroom,” Huffington told WWD. Nonprofit previously won a Pulitzer but HuffPo’s win goes a long way toward justifying Huffington’s brand of digital journalism — which still includes a fair amount of aggregated copy to fill its ever-hungry maw.

This story first appeared in the April 17, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We have 70 originally reported pieces every day,” said O’Brien, executive editor, who left his post as Sunday Business editor of The New York Times in December 2010. “And we’ve got a number of projects similar to this in the works.” He went on to note that a weekly magazine app for the iPad will launch next week, which will provide “another home to all the great feature work we’re doing.”

HuffPo was the main surprise of the awards. The Times won two Pulitzers, for explanatory reporting by David Kocieniewski and international reporting by Jeffrey Gettleman. Its main competitors, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, were shut out this time around, while the committee decided not to award prizes this year for editorial writing and fiction — which shows just what they thought of the novels of finalists Denis Johnson, Karen Russell and the late David Foster Wallace.

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