His reporting will break your heart — but not your love of great storytelling. Eli Saslow writes nonfiction narratives that explain complex social issues such as poverty and gun violence for The Washington Post. His yearlong series reporting on hunger and food stamps received a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for “his unsettling and nuanced reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America,” according to the prize’s website. As a student, he wrote for The Daily Orange and started his post-Newhouse career writing about sports. But he quickly expanded his subject matter, investigating over-looked angles on over-reported topics, providing biting details that draw readers in and make the stories hard to shake. In 2013, he published Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President, a collection of memorable portraits of citizens who corresponded with President Obama, and has received the George Polk Award, a prestigious journalism award named after a CBS correspondent who was murdered while covering the Greek Civil War. After the Newton, Connecticut shooting, Saslow spent 6,300 words of carefully crafted scenes and gut-wrenching details to show the devastation of the Barden family, who lost their 7-year-old in the shooting.
His reporting on that national tragedy and the family at the center of it resulted in “Into the Lonely Quiet,” excerpted here:
“Mark turned on his computer and began looking for the right picture. ‘Something lighthearted,’ he said. ‘Something sweet.’ He had been sitting in the same chair Dec. 14, when he received an automated call about a Code Red Alert, and much of the basement had been preserved in that moment. Nobody had touched the foosball table, because Daniel had been the last to play. His books and toy trains sat in their familiar piles, gathering dust. The basement had always been Daniel’s space, and some days Mark believed he could still smell him here, just in from playing outside, all grassy and muddy.”
— Danielle Roth