It’s a remarkable achievement for any journalist or newspaper organization to be named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. So congratulations are in order to the LA Times, despite the fact that the newspaper has just come up short in three separate 2011-year categories.

In Breaking News Photography, Carolyn Cole and Brian van der Brug lost out to the AFP’s Massoud Hassaini. His coverage of a suicide bombing in Kabul topped their chronicling of Japanese natural disasters. Meanwhile, in the realm of Feature Photography, Francine Orr’s look at autism lost out to Craig F. Walker’s look for the Denver Post at a discharged Iraq War veteran struggling with PST.

In the Commentary bracket, city columnist Steve Lopez’s touching reports about his dad’s dwindling health were a runner-up to Mary Schmich, who covers the Windy City in a similar capacity for sister newspaper the Chicago Tribune.

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