BY SAM STANTON

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  • April 18, 2016 12:24 PM

Updated April 18, 2016 07:29 PM

Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize on Monday for a portfolio of drawings exploring topics that included gun violence, marriage equality, terrorism and the state of the American political system.

Ohman, 55, won journalism’s highest honor for what the Pulitzer citation called “cartoons that convey wry, rueful perspectives through sophisticated style that combines bold line work with subtle colors and textures.”

Ohman watched the announcement on an Internet live stream in “The Hive,” a third-floor conference room in The Bee where he was surrounded by colleagues. As the announcement was made, Ohman’s co-workers broke into sustained applause and gave him a standing ovation. Minutes later, standing at a lectern amid a champagne celebration, Ohman said he “could not be prouder to work for The Sacramento Bee and the McClatchy Co.”

He recalled breaking into cartooning in 1978 and noted the giants of that era who had won Pulitzer Prizes for their work, including legendary cartoonists such as William “Bill” Mauldin and Herbert L. Block, or “Herblock,” as he was known.

“To win an award that they had won is truly overwhelming to me,” Ohman said.

Dan Morain, The Bee’s editorial page editor, called it a privilege to watch Ohman at work.

“We at The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board thank the Pulitzer committee for recognizing Jack Ohman with American journalism’s highest award,” Morain said. “We are privileged to see Jack’s creativity and talent on display every day, and we are fortunate to have such a great colleague and friend.”

Cheryl Dell, The Bee’s publisher and president, said, “Since 1910, The Bee’s editorial cartoonists have used humor and wit to opine. I’m so proud of Jack for following in their footsteps and for finding a way to deliver even more to readers.”

The prizes, administered by Columbia University, were announced at noon Monday in a ceremony that marked the 100th announcement of the annual awards.

Ohman’s winning entry, in the category of distinguished cartoon or portfolio of cartoons, includes a $10,000 award. It marks the sixth Pulitzer for The Bee, and the latest since photographer Renée C. Byer won in 2007 for feature photography.

Ohman came to The Bee in 2013 from The Oregonian in Portland. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for that newspaper.

Since arriving in Sacramento, Ohman has established himself as a prominent voice on politics and social issues through his cartoons, a weekly humor column, a blog and via his alter ego, fictional California politician Joe King.