The past winners of the Pulitzer Prize gather in Washington D.C. over the weekend.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Like a bunch of nerds, a couple of Pulitzer Prize-winner pals and I stalked one of our heroes at a gathering to celebrate the centennial of journalism’s highest honor.

“I hate to be a fan boy, but I’d like to get a picture with Bob Woodward,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist M.L. Elrick, half of a reporting team that uncovered the sleazy corruption that put Detroit’s mayor in federal prison.

“I was looking for him, too,” said Frank Main, the Sun-Times reporter who, along with me and Tribune photographer John Kim, was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

We scanned the crowd of other Pulitzer Prize winners gathered at the Washington Post’s shiny new high-tech headquarters, hoping to spot the legend whose reporting led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and, if that’s not cool enough, was portrayed by Robert Redford in arguably the greatest journalism movie ever made, “All The President’s Men.”

“There he is,” I said after catching a glimpse of Woodward’s reflection in a glass window.

We quickly caught up to him.

“I’m a big fan,” Elrick said, shaking Woodward’s hand.

The famous journalist who in a lot of ways inspired us — and generations of journalists — to spend our careers searching out and exposing ugly truths and government corruption seemed to be in a rush, but he politely mugged for photos with each of us anyway.

Afterward, we looked at each other and smiled.

“That was cool,” Main said.

Cool, indeed.

Frank Main, left, and Bob Woodward. (DNAinfo/Mark Konkol)

Bob Woodward, left, and M.L. Elrick. (DNAinfo/Mark Konkol)

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