This year’s Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists include two UC Berkeley alumni who found their roots in journalism at The Daily Californian.
Darrin Bell, a freelance editorial cartoonist, won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, and Noah Berger, a freelance photographer, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography.
Berger attended UC Berkeley from 1992 to 1995 and was a member of the Daily Cal throughout his entire undergraduate career. He is currently a freelance photographer, working for multiple organizations including The New York Times, government agencies and health care organizations.
“The Daily Cal is the only training I had coming out. … (It was) the biggest source of training,” Berger said. “It was a blast.”
Berger said he is most proud of his photography of the 2018 California wildfires — which was nominated for the breaking news photography Pulitzer Prize. He added that although he did not win, he is glad that there are people whom he can look up to.
Berger added that to him, being a Pulitzer Prize finalist is “a cool experience” but doesn’t change much. Rather, he emphasized the devastation caused by and lives lost from the fires he covered.
“I’m thinking about the people that died in the fires,” Berger said. “Remember them. … It’s a heavy subject.”
Bell began his cartooning career in 1995. During his time at UC Berkeley as a political science major, Bell worked as an editorial cartoonist for the Daily Cal, a position he said gave him a platform to find a routine and experiment with different styles. Bell began freelancing for several major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, in 1995, adding that he always introduced himself with the opener, “I’m Darrin Bell, The Daily Californian’s editorial cartoonist.”
Bell co-created the syndicated comic strip “Rudy Park” in 1997 and launched “Candorville” in 2003. The Washington Post Writers Group began syndicating these cartoons in 2013 — since then, Bell’s editorial cartoons have been moved to the King Features Syndicate.
He was recognized with the Berryman Award in 2016, the 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Award and the Daily Cal’s alumni of the year award in 2015.
The majority of Bell’s award-winning work are political cartoons regarding the political environment and controversies of the United States. Bell’s work also includes a series regarding the police shootings of unarmed Black people and a series advocating for marriage equality.
“Winning the Pulitzer is a huge honor and a profound moment of validation,” Bell said in an email. “It tells me that the 24 hard years of work, and the sleepless nights were worth it.”
The Daily Cal Editor in Chief and President Harini Shyamsundar expressed pride in the organization and its successful alumni.
“I’m extremely proud for all the successful alums,” Shyamsundar said. “It really speaks to the work that we do here.”