The Lufkin News, a 13,000-circulation afternoon newspaper in East Texas that turned a routine obituary of a local Marine into an expose of inhumane treatment of recruits, today was awarded the 19677 Pultizer prize for public service.
The Associated Press' chief political writer, Walter Mears, won the Pultizer national reporting award for breaking stories and for anaylses he field under the pressure of continual deadlines during last year's 32 presidenta ial primaries and the general election campaign.
William McPherson, editor of The Washington Post's World, won the 1977 Pultizer prize for children. The judges cited "a broad literary and historic perspective charaterized by his writing."
George F. Will, of The Washington Post Group, won the year's award for commentary, because, according to the Pultizer jurors, he "is at home with a wide range to topics from international problems to the history of machine guns and the vagaries of the press."
Will's commentary appears twice weekly in the 215 newspaper served by The Washington Post Feature Syndicate.
Alex Haley, the black author whose phenomentally popular "Roots" has triggered a controversy over assertions that it contains numerous historical inaccuracies, won a special award for distinguised work that the Pultizer advisory board felt "did not fit exactly into any other category."
The top award for general local reporting went to Margo Huston of the Milwaukee Journal, whose series of articles last year on problems of aging led to major reforms in public care of the elderly.
TWo Philadelphia Inquirer reporters won the special local reporting category for an investigative series on conditions in a Fairview, Pa., state hospital for the mentally ill.
The Pultizer committee made no award in the international reporting category. Richard T. Baker, journalism professor at Columbia University and secretary to the advisory board, said the omission "release to the fact that it was a very thin year - not a banner year for international reporting."
Despite the intensity of political unrest in the Middle East - particularly major daily newspaper, including the Chicago Daily News and Los Angeles Times, reduced their overseas staffs significantly last yeat.
The Pultizer board also omitted an award in fiction for the first time in three years and the tenth time since 1917. "The obviously was nothing leading the pack," Baker said; the advisory board members "just weren't agreeing on a work of fiction.
Three editorial writers for the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal won a Pultizer prize for a series of editorials attacking the growing political influence of the owner of a local brothel.
Warren Larude, executive editor of the jointly owned newspaper: Norman Cardoza, editorial page editor of the Gazette, and Foster Church, editorial page editor page of Journal, were citied for drawing public attention to the way the owner of the Mustang Ranch, Joe Conforte, had become a clandestine political force whose money was spread widely among public officials.
Paul Szep, a 36-year-old cartonnist for the Boston Globe, won his second Pultizer since 1974. His portfolio included an Aug. 26 drawing showing presidential candidate Jimmy Carter standing in front of a campaign debate camera asking President Ford, "I'll be Jack Keneddy, who do you want to be?"
The spot news photograph award was shared by Neal Ulevich of the Associated Press, who took the widely published picture of a Thai rightist striking the lifeless body of a hanged Bangkok student, and Stanley Forman of the Boston Herald-American, who picture a youth using an American flag as a lance against a black lawyer at an anti-Busing demonstration.
The feaure photography award went to Robin Hood of the Chattanooga News-Free Press, for a picture of legless Vietnam veteran holding a small child close to him during a rainy Armed Forces Day parade.
Michael Cristofer won the top drama award for "The Shadow Box," about the lives of eight people who deal with impending death in a hospital for the terminally ill. Premered in 1975 in Los Angeles, it is now playing in New York.
A posthumous award in history was given to David M. Potter, a former Stanford University history professor who died in 1971, for "The Impending Crisis," a study of the pre-Civil War years. The book was published last year after manuscript was completely by Don E. Fehrenbacher, an author who teaches at Stanford.
The award for biography was won by John E. Mack, a Harvard University professor of psychiatry, who wrote, "A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E.Lawrance." The book is a biography of the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, with psychoanalytical insights.
The general non-fiction award was won by William W. Warner of Washington, author of "Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chespeake Bay." The book describeds the life cycles of the blue crabs, the people who fish them and the natural resource of the bay itself.
The poetry award was won by James Merrill, whose "Divine Comedies" collection includes a work dealling with the "Transmigration of souls.
Richard Wernick, 43-years-old music professor at the University of Pennysylvania, won the music award for his "Visions of Terror and Wonder," a composition for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, which premiered at the Spen Music Festival Last July.
The prizes are $2,000 each, except for the public service award - a gold medal.
The special award to Haley was recommended on April 8, two days before the London Sunday Times reported that "Roots" contained numerous historical inaccuracies, and that the native oral historian upon whom Haley dependend for many of his facts might have been unreliable and misinformed.
However, Baker said, the mounting criticism of the book "didn't bother us the least bit. We don't care whether it was history, sociology or a confessional. We felt and it was very special kind of book, and it deserved a book award."
The Lufkin News sotries dealt with the death of a Marine recruit, Lynn (Bubba) McClure, 20, who suffered fatal brain damage during hand-to-hand combat training exercise with padded sticks. The newspaper reported that the Marine Corps had used faked names to cover up recruting mistakes. Articles by the News and other newspapers resulted in reforms by Congress and change in Marine training procedures.
The three-month investigation by the Philadelphia inquirer's Acel Moore and Wendell Rawls Jr., according to the Pultizer jurors, exposed brutality, murder, falsified records and corruption at the state hospital and led to reforms on behalf of member patients.
The reports were about blood "human cock fight" staged by guards, fatal beatings, and murders covered up as "heat attacks."
The Pultizer advisory board cited McPherson, 44, for a broad range of literary criticsm, extending from the poetry of Archibald MacLeish to the prose of E.B. White. The board singled out a review of Saul Bello's "To Jerusalem and Back" in which McPherson wrote, "It cannot be easy, sitting on a scrap of sand at the edge of history, immersed in history, caught between the Holocaust and the insrutable, implacable future.'
McPherson has been editor of The Washington Post Book World section since 1969. He joined the paper in 1959 as a staff writer and editor and was named travel editor in 1963. Previously he had been in charge of the Apollo Editions of William Morrow & Co.
Will, who earned his doctorate in political science at Princeton in 1964 and taught at Michigan State University and the University of Toronto was Washington editor of the National Review in 1973. His Washington Post Column has been nationally syndicated since 1974, a year ago he began a twice-weekly column for Newsweek magazine.