The 106th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced Monday, April 9.
The Washington Post was awarded the Pulitzer for public service journalism for its compellingly told and vividly presented account of the assault on Washington on January 6, 2021, providing the public with a thorough and unflinching understanding of one of the nation's darkest days.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for powerful coverage that exposed an unknown epidemic of electrical fires in the city’s rental properties and a widespread lack of accountability; and The New York Times for courageous and relentless reporting that exposed the vast civilian toll of U.S.-led airstrikes, challenging official accounts of American military engagements in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. (Moved by the Board to the International Reporting category.)
Winners in other categories, along with the names of finalists, follow:
BREAKING NEWS REPORTING
Awarded to the Staff of The Miami Herald for its urgent yet sweeping coverage of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex, merging clear and compassionate writing with comprehensive news and accountability reporting.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Staff of the Los Angeles Times for deeply sourced and detailed reporting about a fatal shooting on the set of the film “Rust” that moved beyond the day’s events to a larger consideration of labor and safety concerns in the film industry; and Staff of The New York Times for its aggressive and revelatory reporting about the attack on Washington on January 6, 2021, delivered as the events were unfolding and afterwards.
Awarded to Corey G. Johnson, Rebecca Woolington and Eli Murray of the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., for a compelling exposé of highly toxic hazards inside Florida’s only battery recycling plant that forced the implementation of safety measures to adequately protect workers and nearby residents.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Jeffrey Meitrodt and Nicole Norfleet of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, for comprehensive and tenacious reporting that exposed how financial service companies purchased settlements from vulnerable accident victims across the country, convincing them to give up millions of dollars, often with judges' approval; and Hannah Dreier and Andrew Ba Tran of The Washington Post for a gripping, deeply reported series that illuminated how FEMA fails American disaster survivors by not confronting structural racism or climate change, prompting policy overhauls.
Awarded to the Staff of Quanta Magazine, New York, N.Y., notably Natalie Wolchover, for coverage that revealed the complexities of building the James Webb Space Telescope, designed to facilitate groundbreaking astronomical and cosmological research.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer for a richly reported series that, with compelling writing and photography, tackled the complex roots of gun violence in the city, centering on the people and communities most affected by it; and Staff of The Wall Street Journal or stories that vividly reconstructed the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and illuminated its enduring effects, describing how the destruction of Black wealth and property burdened future generations.
Awarded to Madison Hopkins of the Better Government Association, Chicago, Il., and Cecilia Reyes of the Chicago Tribune for a piercing examination of the city’s long history of failed buildingand fire-safety code enforcement, which let scofflaw landlords commit serious violations that resulted in dozens of unnecessary deaths.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Tony Cook, Johnny Magdaleno and Michelle Pemberton of The Indianapolis Star for their critical examination of Indiana’s “Red Flag” gun law, identifying numerous instances where police and prosecutors had failed to understand and enforce the law; and Lulu Ramadan of The Palm Beach Post and Ash Ngu, Maya Miller and Nadia Sussman of ProPublica for a comprehensive investigation, including interactives and graphics, that revealed dangerous air quality during Florida’s sugar cane harvest season and prompted significant reforms.
Awarded to the Staff of The New York Times for an ambitious project that quantified a disturbing pattern of fatal traffic stops by police, illustrating how hundreds of deaths could have been avoided and how officers typically avoided punishment.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Eli Hager of The Marshall Project and Joseph Shapiro, contributor, of National Public Radio for powerful reporting that exposed how local government agencies throughout America quietly pocketed Social Security benefits intended for children in foster care; and Staff of The Washington Post for a sweeping series on environmental racism, illuminating how American communities of color have disproportionately suffered for decades from dirty air, polluted water and lax or nonexistent environmental protection.
Awarded to the Staff of The New York Times for courageous and relentless reporting that exposed the vast civilian toll of U.S.-led airstrikes, challenging official accounts of American military engagements in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. (Moved by the Board from the Public Service category, where it was also nominated.)
Nominated as finalists in this category were: Staff of The New York Times for richly immersive coverage of the sudden, chaotic fall of the Afghan government and the return of the Taliban, highlighting the experience of Afghans as well as the reporters themselves; Staff of The New York Times for a stunning investigation of the assassination of Haiti’s president that uncovered pervasive corruption across government, security forces and business elites, including a likely motive for the murder: a secret dossier the president was compiling of powerful arms and drug traffickers; and Yaroslav Trofimov and the Staff of The Wall Street Journal for probing, deeply reported stories on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, including exclusive interviews conducted before the Taliban’s return, casting new light on what happened in the country and what might come next.
Awarded to Jennifer Senior of The Atlantic for an unflinching portrait of a family’s reckoning with loss in the 20 years since 9/11, masterfully braiding the author's personal connection to the story with sensitive reporting that reveals the long reach of grief.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Anand Gopal, contributing writer, The New Yorker, for his account, published shortly after the U.S. announced its departure from Afghanistan, of Afghan women who have been forgotten in the dominant narrative about the war; and Meribah Knight of WPLN, contributor, and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica, New York, N.Y., for their enterprising and empathetic account of 11 Black children in Tennessee who were arrested for a crime that doesn’t exist.
Awarded to Melinda Henneberger of The Kansas City Star for persuasive columns demanding justice for alleged victims of a retired police detective accused of being a sexual predator.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Julian Aguon, freelance contributor, The Atlantic, for an illuminating essay that explores the familiar threats of climate change through the lesserknown stories of Indigenous Pacific Island communities who are fighting rising seas with a resilience that is both heartbreaking and hopeful; and Zeynep Tufekci for her insightful, often prescient, columns on the pandemic and American culture, published in The New York Times and The Atlantic, that brought clarity to the shifting official guidance and compelled us towards greater compassion and informed response.
Awarded to Salamishah Tillet, contributing critic-at-large, The New York Times, for learned and stylish writing about Black stories in art and popular culture–work that successfully bridges academic and nonacademic critical discourse.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic for articles that bring clarity and insight to questions concerning gender norms, feminism, and popular culture; and Peter Schjeldahl of The New Yorker for accessible and dedicated art criticism that introduces or revisits painters, institutions and movements, offering tender appreciations and unflinching dissents.
Awarded to Lisa Falkenberg, Michael Lindenberger, Joe Holley and Luis Carrasco of the Houston Chronicle for a campaign that, with original reporting, revealed voter suppression tactics, rejected the myth of widespread voter fraud and argued for sensible voting reforms.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Abdallah Fayyad of The Boston Globe for a persuasive editorial series arguing that the president of the United States could be prosecuted for crimes committed in office; and Editorial Staff of The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate for editorials demanding transparency and accountability on behalf of the people of Louisiana when an investigative reporter was sued by the state’s attorney general for making a public records request.
ILLUSTRATED REPORTING AND COMMENTARY
Awarded to Fahmida Azim, Anthony Del Col, Josh Adams and Walt Hickey of Insider, New York, N.Y., for using the comics medium to tell a powerful yet intimate story of the Chinese oppression of the Uyghurs, making the issue accessible to a wider public.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Zoe Si, contributor, The New Yorker, for cartoons that use simply drawn figures, inclusive representation and sharply observed punchlines to capture political realities and daily life during the pandemic, inviting reflection and empathy; and Ann Telnaes of The Washington Post for succinct and layered cartoons covering a wide range of social and political topics with immediacy and impact.
BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY
Awarded to Win McNamee, Drew Angerer, Spencer Platt, Samuel Corum and Jon Cherry of Getty Images for comprehensive and consistently riveting photos of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. and Awarded to Marcus Yam of the Los Angeles Times for raw and urgent images of the U.S. departure from Afghanistan that capture the human cost of the historic change in the country. (Moved from Feature Photography by the jury.)
Also nominated as a finalist in this category was: Anonymous, freelance contributor, The New York Times, for striking images, conducted at great personal risk, of the military coup in Myanmar.
Awarded to Adnan Abidi, Sanna Irshad Mattoo, Amit Dave and the late Danish Siddiqui of Reuters for images of COVID’s toll in India that balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place. (Moved from Breaking News Photography by the jury.)
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Photography Staff of Reuters for images of climate change collected around the globe, effectively portraying extreme and dangerous natural events as common and widespread threats to human life; and Gabrielle Lurie of the San Francisco Chronicle for intimate and harrowing images of a mother’s attempts to care for her homeless, drug-addicted daughter.
Awarded to Staffs of Futuro Media, New York, N.Y. and PRX, Boston, Mass. for “Suave,” a brutally honest and immersive profile of a man reentering society after serving more than 30 years in prison.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Mike Hixenbaugh, Antonia Hylton, Reid Cherlin, Julie Shapiro and Frannie Kelley of NBC News for “Southlake,” a riveting and insightful account of an anti-Critical Race Theory movement in a Texas community, a phenomenon that has reverberated through school districts across the country; and Eyder Peralta, Solomon Fisseha, Alsanosi Adam and Halima Athumani of National Public Radio for their compelling, accessible and empathetic stories on the complicated war and threats to democracy in East Africa, an area of the world that rarely gets sustained coverage.
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