Pulitzer Prize Nomination

January 9, 1976

Secretary of the Advisory Board
Professor John Hohenberg
702 Journalism
Columbia University
New York, New York 10027

To the Pulitzer judges:

I have the privilege of nominating Kevin B. McKiernan for a Pulitzer prize in Spot News Photography.

McKiernan was on assignment for National Public Radio covering the Dennis Banks trial in Custer, South Dakota.  He had met Banks on several occasions.

During a short trial recess on June 26, Banks motioned for McKiernan to accompany him into a hallway at the Custer courthouse.  "They're shooting it out on the reservation," said Banks.

McKiernan did not wait to hear more.  He drove the 100 miles to the Pine Ridge Reservation, talking his way past FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs roadblocks on route.  At the last BIA roadblock, interrogators put a gun to his head but he was able to establish his identity and make his way forward because of an acquaintance at the roadblock.

Shortly after leaving the final roadblock he heard shooting.  He thought that one round had hit his truck so he stopped and made his way on foot toward the house from which the shooting seemed to be coming.

Several men were running from the area.  He spotted the body on the ground and shot one picture as a BIA policeman hurried toward it.  He shot once more as the policeman stood over the body.  Then the policeman ordered him to quit shooting and to hand over his camera.  While pretending to put the camera in its case, McKiernan slipped out the live cartridge and put in another cartridge of unexposed film.  He palmed the live cartridge and handed the camera to the policeman.

The accompanying picture, published in the Minneapolis Tribune on June 28, was the last frame on the roll he kept.

The Tribune commends the entry to the attention of the jurors and the Pulitzer advisory board.

Charles W. Bailey
Minneapolis Tribune




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