Jose Antonio Vargas, a 27-year-old Filipino American, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on an astonishing shooting spree in the United States, media reports said on Tuesday.
Vargas, having worked as a journalist for the past 10 years, is a reporter for the Washington Post, which won six Pulitzer awards this year, including best breaking news reporting for its coverage of the April 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre, where South Korean student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people before committing suicide.
Vargas wrote two stories on America's deadliest shooting incident, Philippine cable news network ANC reported. The Washington Post packaged those two articles with seven others as their entry in the Pulitzer Prize.
"I was lucky enough to get an interview with one of the eyewitnesses," Vargas recounted.
"I found this eyewitness on Facebook (an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges). I got him on the phone, we talked for 25 minutes on the phone and he was the only eyewitness we had for the story so he was a critical part of it," he said.
His second story revolved around how Virginia Tech students used the Internet to break through the cloud of confusion and console each other in the wake of the unprecedented campus carnage.
"Most of the students were connecting online through Facebook, websites to basically connect with each other. It was part of the healing process but also to know what was going on because everything was chaotic," he said.
Besides Vargas, there have been at least four Filipinos and Fil-Americans that won the Pulitzer Prize, according to the report since 1941.
Vargas is now covering the political campaign, running up to the November presidential elections.
"I specialize in the marriage of the Internet and politics, how all the candidates are campaigning online. Barack Obama has raised a tremendous amount of money on the Internet," he said.