Public service

Libby Casey ’99 wins Pulitzer Prize for Public Service

Elizabeth “Libby” Casey ’99 is a Pulitzer Prize winner, member of a team of The Washington Post which covered the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. The team received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service “for its compelling and vividly presented account of the assault on Washington on January 6, 2021, providing audiences with a deep and unflinching understanding of one of the most glories of the nation”. The team’s winning work can be read here.

“It’s humiliating to be part of The Washington Post team to win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service,” Casey said. “Serving the public is why we do our job as journalists. It’s especially exciting for our visual contributions to be included in newsroom recognition.

Reflecting on covering the events of January 6, Casey shared some vivid memories: “I was in the anchor chair at The Washington Post when the Capitol was attacked and then breached. Our correspondent and videographer inside the Capitol complex had to flee and barricade himself in a basement, and we kept broadcasting. Colleagues outside the Capitol provided us with footage and called dispatches, describing to me what was happening. We stayed on the air that day for about 12 hours, all of which I anchored, so we could bring millions of viewers around the world a minute-by-minute account of what was happening.

Casey, who at one point worked in a broadcast booth at the Capitol, considers the iconic building a “second home of work,” so the day’s events had a particularly searing impact on her. “I was horrified thinking of my colleagues and friends, the lawmakers and the janitors, the people who go to work every day on Capitol Hill believing in democracy.” But she still put her journalistic integrity first, fulfilling her duty to present the facts to the people. “It was my job to stay calm and focused so that I could guide our audience through what was happening. In a time of crisis like this, it’s more important than ever to continue to focus on the facts, to report the truth and remain stable in our mission.

Casey traces his career success to his time at Sarah Lawrence, recalling how his gift, Bill Shullenberger, showed him how to tap into his curiosity and “dive into an issue with enthusiasm and openness, then share what I learned with others,” and how faculty member Nicolaus Mills, with whom she studied non-fiction writing, taught her “how creative and human journalism can be.” Lyde Cullen Sizer, a history professor and the College’s new associate dean, “taught me how to find my voice, both in my writing and literally in her class discussions,” Casey recalls fondly.

My upbringing from Sarah Lawrence taught me to ask questions and to keep asking questions. It taught me to be an open listener and a critical thinker. I use these skills every day in my work at The Washington Post. Preparing to anchor a live show is like taking a deep dive for a Sarah Lawrence project. I research, make calls and talk to people, then synthesize what I know in an effort to make our live streams smarter and sharper.

Congratulations to Libby and her team at The Washington Post!

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Sarah Lawrence is known for her pioneering approach to education, her rich history of passionate intellectual and civic engagement, and her dynamic and successful alumni. Close to New York’s unparalleled offerings, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.