DemDaily: The 2020 Pulitzer Prize Winners
May 19, 2020
The winners of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize were announced earlier this month, recognizing excellence in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.
Founded in 1917 at the bequest of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the award is considered our country's most prestigious recognition of accomplishment in journalism and the arts.
"The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them." -- Ida B. Wells, Journalist
|Category||Winner||Body of Work|
Breaking News Reporting
For its rapid coverage of hundreds of last-minute pardons by Kentucky's governor, showing how the process was marked by opacity, racial disparities and violations of legal norms.
Brian M. Rosenthal, The New York Times
For an exposé of New York City's taxi industry that showed how lenders profited from predatory loans that shattered the lives of vulnerable drivers, reporting that ultimately led to state and federal investigations and sweeping reforms.
Staff of The Washington Post
For a groundbreaking series that showed with scientific clarity the dire effects of extreme temperatures on the planet.
Staff of The Baltimore Sun
For illuminating, impactful reporting on a lucrative, undisclosed financial relationship between the city's mayor and the public hospital system she helped to oversee.
|T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica|
For their investigation into America's 7th Fleet after a series of deadly naval accidents in the Pacific.
Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times
|For groundbreaking stories that exposed design flaws in the Boeing 737 MAX that led to two deadly crashes and revealed failures in government oversight.|
Staff of The New York Times
|For a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin's regime.|
Ben Taub of The New Yorker
|For a devastating account of a man who was kidnapped, tortured and deprived of his liberty for more than a decade at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, blending on-the-ground reporting and lyrical prose to offer a nuanced perspective on America's wider war on terror.|
|Category||Winner||Body of Work|
|For a sweeping, provocative and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America's story, prompting public conversation about the nation's founding and evolution.|
Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times
|For work demonstrating extraordinary community service by a critic, applying his expertise and enterprise to critique a proposed overhaul of the L.A. County Museum of Art and its effect on the institution's mission.|
Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine Herald Press (Texas)
|For editorials that exposed how pre-trial inmates died horrific deaths in a small Texas county jail-reflecting a rising trend across the state-and courageously took on the local sheriff and judicial establishment, which tried to cover up these needless tragedies.|
Barry Blitt, contributor,
The New Yorker
|For work that skewers the personalities and policies emanating from the Trump White House with deceptively sweet watercolor style and seemingly gentle caricatures.|
Photography Staff of Reuters
|For wide-ranging and illuminating photographs of Hong Kong as citizens protested infringement of their civil liberties and defended the region's autonomy by the Chinese government.|
|Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of the Associated Press||For striking images captured during a communications blackout in Kashmir depicting life in the contested territory as India stripped it of its semi-autonomy.|
|Staff ofThis American Life with Molly O'Toole of theLos Angeles Times and Emily Green, freelancer, Vice News||For "The Out Crowd," revelatory, intimate journalism that illuminates the personal impact of the Trump Administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy.|
Anchorage Daily News with contributions from ProPublica
|For a riveting series that revealed that a third of Alaska's villages had no police protection, took authorities to task for decades of neglect, and spurred an influx of money and legislative changes.|
"Freedom of conscience, of education, or speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of our democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
|Category||Winner||Body of Work|
Michael R. Jackson
A metaﬁctional musical that tracks the creative process of an artist transforming issues of identity, race, and sexuality that once pushed him to the margins of the cultural mainstream into a meditation on universal human fears and insecurities.
Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)
|A masterfully researched meditation on reparations based on the remarkable story of a 19th century woman who survived kidnapping and re-enslavement to sue her captor.|
Sontag: Her Life and Work, by Benjamin Moser (Ecco)
|An authoritatively constructed work told with pathos and grace, that captures the writer's genius and humanity alongside her addictions, sexual ambiguities and volatile enthusiasms.|
|Poetry||The Tradition, by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)||A collection of masterful lyrics that combine delicacy with historical urgency in their loving evocation of bodies vulnerable to hostility and violence.|
The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care, by Anne Boyer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
|An elegant and unforgettable narrative about the brutality of illness and the capitalism of cancer care in America.|
The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books)
|A sweeping and beautifully written book that probes the American myth of boundless expansion and provides a compelling context for thinking about the current political moment.|
The Central Park Five, by Anthony Davis
|Premiered on June 15, 2019 at the Long Beach Opera, a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful. Libretto by Richard Wesley.|
|The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)||A spare and devastating exploration of abuse at a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida that is ultimately a powerful tale of human perseverance, dignity and redemption.|
The Pulitzer Committee also awarded a Special Citation to Ida B. Wells,"For her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching." The citation comes with a bequest by the Pulitzer Prize board of at least $50,000 in support of her mission.
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