Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Tom Philp will rejoin The Sacramento Bee | Opinion

The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board is a century-old institution, and, in that time, it has been awarded two Pulitzer Prizes. Jack Ohman won a Pulitzer for editorial cartooning in 2017. The other Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award given in American journalism, was won by Tom Philp in 2005.

We are delighted to announce that Philp will rejoin The Bee Editorial Board as a columnist and editorial writer on May 22.


Aside from his stellar qualifications, Philp’s knowledge of Sacramento, his professional relationships with newsmakers throughout the region and the state — and his reputation as a wonderful colleague — will make us better at what we do.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Tom back to the Sacramento Opinion team,” said Peter St. Onge, national opinion editor for McClatchy. “He knows and loves Sacramento, and Bee readers will appreciate his deep reporting and strong, thoughtful voice.”

At The Bee, Philp will work alongside opinion writers Robin Epley and Hannah Holzer. He will also work closely with our California Opinion team colleagues within McClatchy: Garth Stapley of The Modesto Bee, Tad Weber of The Fresno Bee and Stephanie Finucane of the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

A California native and a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Philp was a decorated journalist for more than 20 years at the San Jose Mercury News and The Bee before he joined the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California as a strategist in 2007.

“I feel like I’m coming home,” Philp said. “I’ve learned a lot about how the California government works for the last 16 years. I hope this makes me a better journalist in the years ahead and I can’t wait to reconnect with this community and The Bee readers who make it all possible.”

Philp’s Pulitzer win in 2005 was celebrated by a Bee newsroom full of his colleagues, whose enthusiasm and affection spoke to the respect that Philp had earned as an exceptional journalist and friend to many.

“Tom Philp, an associate editor of The Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing on Monday for a series urging the restoration of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley,” Sam Stanton wrote in a front-page story published in The Bee on April 5, 2005. “The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, came for ‘Hetch Hetchy Reclaimed,’ a package the Pulitzer Board called deeply researched editorials on reclaiming California’s flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley that stirred action.”

At The Bee, Philp also won the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Walker Stone award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award and the National Headliner Award for his editorials on the questionable spending of California water districts.

In 2001, Philp won the Bay Institute of San Francisco’s Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting.

“I am thrilled to welcome Tom back to The Sacramento Bee,” said Colleen McCain Nelson, executive editor of The Bee. “He is an acclaimed journalist who will bring a deep knowledge of Sacramento and California, as well as a passion for public policy, to our editorial board. Tom is committed to delivering deeply reported local opinion journalism, and I look forward to sharing his insights and thoughtful commentary with our readers.”