Connect with us

All Articles

Pulitzer Winner Eli Sanders Talks About Stuff


Eli Sanders, CC ’99, just won a Pulitzer for his harrowing feature, “The Bravest Woman in Seattle,” in the Seattle weekly, The Stranger. Bwog called him to figure out how journalism works.

Bwog: So what was your major?

Eli: Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, I don’t know if they have that anymore. MEALAC?

Bwog: Yeah, they changed it to MESAAS just a little bit ago. What did you think of the Core?

Eli: I really liked it, I enjoyed it. I went to public schools in Seattle, and a lot of other students from prep schools and private schools had read these books. I hadn’t, so I really appreciated it.

Bwog: And has it been useful?

Eli: I appreciate it even more now. A lot of what you’re reading is really great stories, and if your job is to write good stories, at least, it’s really helpful.

Bwog: Awesome. Is there a big difference between campus journalism and the real thing?

Eli: Well, you get paid. And you get benefits. But it’s still a bunch of writers in a room trying to put out a good paper or publication.

Bwog: You were on Spec. What is your most ridiculous undergraduate reporting experience?

Eli: [laughs] The most absurd thing that happened to me: at the Spec Blue Pencil Dinner, which they still have, Andy Rooney was the speaker. That was the year I was editor, or maybe the year before. And I knew him, but didn’t really what he was all about. Anyways, we’d been drinking and eating. And we took a picture, and I was next to Andy Rooney. There I was with my junior and senior year Jew-fro, and I just imagine him looking over and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Bwog: Do you still read Spec?

Eli: I don’t. I’m way out here in Seattle; I do keep up with New York news, but not so much campus stuff.

Bwog: Do you have a favorite fictional journalist?

Eli: I don’t think I ever spent time developing affinities for fictional journalists. I do have some favorite real journalists.

Bwog: Would you name some?

Eli: Capote, Mailer, new journalists. They weren’t perfect, but I admire the force of their writing.

Bwog: Any advice for hopeful journalists?

Eli: It’s harder than it was when I was starting, and that wasn’t too long ago. A lot of things have collapsed since then. I would say go into it with very clear eyes about what you’re getting into.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Headshot via

Click to show comments

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published.



  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous damn, that article fuckin hurt to read

  • Garfield High School/Columbia Grads says:

    @Garfield High School/Columbia Grads do it better. If you dont know…now you know.

  • Just Another says:

    @Just Another Garfield High School graduate puttin on for the Dawghouse

  • I fucks with says:

    @I fucks with The stranger

  • hopeful writer reconsidering consulting... says:

    @hopeful writer reconsidering consulting... damn, this guy scares me.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous He’s quite handsome!

  • Ad

    Have Your Say

    What should Bwog's new tagline be?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Recent Comments

    I need to know what kind of bread you have. Please. (read more)
    Dress Up As Alma (And Other Statues) For Halloween
    October 29, 2020
    That’s wifey right there (read more)
    Dress Up As Alma (And Other Statues) For Halloween
    October 29, 2020
    funny, can write, AND can model? a triple threat (read more)
    Dress Up As Alma (And Other Statues) For Halloween
    October 29, 2020
    omg! this is such a great article! (read more)
    Dress Up As Alma (And Other Statues) For Halloween
    October 29, 2020

    Comment Policy

    The purpose of Bwog’s comment section is to facilitate honest and open discussion between members of the Columbia community. We encourage commenters to take advantage of—without abusing—the opportunity to engage in anonymous critical dialogue with other community members. A comment may be moderated if it contains:
    • A slur—defined as a pejorative derogatory phrase—based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or spiritual belief
    • Hate speech
    • Unauthorized use of a person’s identity
    • Personal information about an individual
    • Baseless personal attacks on specific individuals
    • Spam or self-promotion
    • Copyright infringement
    • Libel
    • COVID-19 misinformation