Perhaps the most compelling story line from Monday’s Pulitzer Prize announcements was the Daily Breeze, a 71,000-circulation newspaper covering the South Bay region of Los Angeles County and winner of the distinction for local reporting. The bummer: Rob Kuznia, the main reporter on a three-person team cited for the Pulitzer, had left for a job in public relations — at the USC Shoah Foundation — not long after producing the stories that fetched glory.

“I needed more financial stability,” Kuznia told the Erik Wemple Blog this week. He scored a 25 percent raise in moving to the foundation; he said that Daily Breeze reporters earn salaries in the $40,000 range.

An offer for greater financial stability may be coming from his former employer. “I would do what it took to get Rob back,” said Los Angeles News Group Executive Editor Michael Anastasi in a chat yesterday.

“One of my goals since I started here,” says Anastasi, who arrived at the Daily Breeze two-and-a-half years after working at the Salt Lake Tribune, “is to raise the level of this organization in all ways.” One ingredient of that imperative, he says, is “raising the level of talent we have and part of that includes doing everything we have to keep talented people that are here.”

And there’s nothing like a Pulitzer to spur appreciation of talent.

The Daily Breeze is part of the Los Angeles News Group, consisting of nine dailies and six weeklies, with a combined newsroom strength of 230 journalists, says Anastasi. He hastens to point out that the overall group and the Daily Breeze itself are both profitable organizations. “It’s important to say that we are profitable, in a market where there are competitors that are not,” he says.

Maybe some of that profit can finance an offer to Kuznia, whose reporting exposed all manner of mismanagement in the Centinela Valley Union High School District. “I’m going to be seeing Rob a lot in coming weeks,” says Anastasi, referring to upcoming Pulitzer formalities. When he talked to this blog this week, Kuznia was noncommittal about a return to journalism.