Reuters and the Minneapolis Star Tribune each won a Pulitzer Prize on Friday for Stories of Racial Inequalities in U.S. Policing, while the New York Times and the Atlantic were honored for Chronicle of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the two topics that dominated last year’s news agenda.
The Star Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News coverage for its “urgent, authoritative, and nuanced” coverage of the police murder of George Floyd last May, while Reuters and Atlantic shared the award for explanation reporting.
The Pulitzer Awards are the most prestigious awards in American journalism and have been presented since 1917, when newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer bequeathed them to Columbia University in New York.
In 2020, “the country’s news organizations are faced with the complexity of covering a global pandemic, racial reckoning and a bitterly competitive presidential election, one at a time,” said Mindy Marques, co-chair of the Pulitzer board of directors, at the announcement ceremony, which broadcast online has been .
The board cited Reuters reporters Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Andrea Januta, Jaimi Dowdell and Jackie Botts for their “groundbreaking data analysis” that showed how an obscure legal doctrine of “qualified immunity” protected cops who use excessive force from prosecution.
The Pulitzer Prize for Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO), was the newsroom’s ninth since 2008 and the sixth in the past four years.
The Reuters team shared the explanatory coverage award with Ed Yong of The Atlantic, who was recognized by the board for “a series of clear, definitive contributions to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Many of the awards went to coverage of police work and the global protest movement that broke out after Floyd’s assassination: the Associated Press won the Breaking News Photography Award for its pictures of the protests, while Los Angeles Times’s Robert Greene won for his editorial writing work to bail reform and prisons.
The board also said it gave Darnella Frazier, the teenage viewer who recorded a video of Floyd’s murder on her cell phone, a “special quote” highlighting “the vital role of citizens in helping journalists find truth and justice” .
The New York Times won the Public Service Journalism Award, often considered the most coveted of the 22 awards, for its “predictive and comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus pandemic”. The Boston Globe won for investigative coverage for exposing a systematic failure by state governments to share information about dangerous truck drivers that could have kept them off the road.
Friday’s $ 15,000 price tag announcement had been postponed amid the April pandemic. The awards dinner, which usually takes place shortly after at Columbia University, has been postponed until the fall.
The Pulitzer Board of Directors also recognizes achievements in seven categories in the arts and awarded Louise Erdrich its Fiction Prize for her novel “The Night Watchman” about attempting to evict Indian tribes in the 1950s.
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