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The New York Times, Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica Win Pulitzers


Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday to news organizations that delved into corruption, law enforcement and the legacy of racism in the United States, recognizing journalists’ examinations of inequality and other societal ills.

The New York Times led all outlets with three prizes. The New Yorker won two and the nonprofit outlet ProPublica took one award and shared another.

The award for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, went to The Anchorage Daily News, which collaborated with ProPublica for a yearlong investigation of sexual violence in Alaska.

The series uncovered a “two-tiered” criminal justice system in the state, in which rural communities, disproportionately populated by Indigenous people, had limited or no access to law enforcement and four times as many sex offenders as the United States’ per-capita national average.

“This shows what’s possible in a small newsroom,” said David Hulen, the editor of The Anchorage Daily News, in a phone interview Monday.

The Daily News has about 30 journalists working in its newsroom, Mr. Hulen said. It joined with ProPublica as part of an initiative called the Local Reporting Network.

“In this case, it was really possible because of the partnership with ProPublica,” Mr. Hulen said. “That’s part of the new way media can work these days, through collaboration.”

It was the third Pulitzer for public service for The Anchorage Daily News.

The awards for The Times came in the categories of commentary, investigative journalism and international reporting.

The commentary award went to Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, for her essay that served as the leading piece in The 1619 Project, a series centered on reframing United States history by focusing on the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans. The project, led by Ms. Hannah-Jones, included a broadsheet section and a podcast.

“One of the most ambitious acts of journalism in years,” Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, told the staff Monday.

The investigative prize went to a Times examination, by Brian M. Rosenthal, of the New York City taxi industry. It found that many drivers, some of whom did not speak English, had been saddled with predatory loans that valued taxi medallions at $1 million or more, helping cause nearly a thousand medallion owners to file for bankruptcy. The series prompted the city to propose a $500 million bailout.

The board awarded its international prize to a series by Times journalists detailing Russia’s influence operations abroad, from assassinations to election-meddling, in the years following its disinformation efforts in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For the first time, the Pulitzers recognized audio journalism with an award for “The Out Crowd,” a collaboration between the staff of “This American Life,” the longtime program produced by the Chicago station WBEZ, and Molly O’Toole, of the Los Angeles Times, and Emily Green, a freelancer for Vice News.

The Pulitzer Prizes, first given in 1917 and presented annually by Columbia University for excellence in journalism, books, music and drama, were announced via video livestream from the living room of the Pulitzer administrator, Dana Canedy, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the Pulitzer board moved the date of the ceremony from April 20 to Monday, saying that many board members were “on the front lines of informing the public on the quickly evolving coronavirus pandemic.”

Ms. Canedy began the announcement Monday afternoon by comparing journalists to emergency responders and health care workers who were “running toward the fire.”

“Despite relentless assaults on objective truth, coordinated efforts to undermine our nation’s free press and persistent economic headwinds, journalists continue to pursue and deliver essential facts and truths to keep us safe and to protect our democracy,” she said.

Two executives at outlets that won Pulitzers — Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica’s editor in chief, and David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker — served on the Pulitzer Prize Board. Nicole Carroll, the editor in chief of USA Today, a Gannett paper, is also on the board.

The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., which is owned by Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the country, won the breaking news prize for its coverage of former Governor Matt Bevin’s pardons of hundreds of people, including for a man convicted of homicide whose brother had raised thousands of dollars for Mr. Bevin’s unsuccessful re-election campaign.

The family-owned Seattle Times won the national reporting prize for its coverage of Boeing. Its series found that the Federal Aviation Administration had cooperated with Boeing’s own inspectors in approving the fatally flawed flight control system of the 737 Max. One of the four reporters on the series, Mike Baker, is now the Seattle bureau chief of The New York Times.

A second national reporting prize went to three reporters at ProPublica for articles on the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet and fatal accidents involving the Navy and the Marines.

The New Yorker won two awards, for feature writing and editorial cartooning — the latter for Barry Blitt, whose caricatures of President Trump and other political figures frequently appear on the cover. The feature prize went to Ben Taub for a story about a Guantánamo Bay inmate accused of aiding Al Qaeda, who was tortured even as he maintained his innocence.

The author Colson Whitehead won in the fiction category for his novel “The Nickel Boys” — Mr. Whitehead’s second Pulitzer. The musical theater writer Michael R. Jackson won the Pulitzer for drama for his musical “A Strange Loop.” W. Caleb McDaniel took the award in history for his book “Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America,” and Benjamin Moser won in biography for “Sontag: Her Life and Work,” his study of the writer and public intellectual Susan Sontag.

The Washington Post won for explanatory reporting for a series that used interactive maps and visual journalism to illuminate the dangers of global warming.

The prize for breaking new photography went to Reuters staff, who captured vivid images of Hong Kongers protesting against the Chinese government. Three Associated Press photojournalists won in the feature photography category for pictures of Kashmir following an Indian crackdown on the disputed territory. The Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight won in the criticism category for his columns arguing against a proposal to overhaul the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Baltimore Sun won the local reporting prize for its coverage of former Mayor Catherine Pugh. Revelations that Ms. Pugh earned $800,000 from hospitals’ and insurers’ bulk purchases of her self-published children’s book helped lead to her resignation. Ms. Pugh also pleaded guilty to federal charges.

The editorial writing prize went to Jeffery Gerritt of The Herald-Press of Palestine, Tex., a town 100 miles southeast of Dallas, for a series on the deaths of prisoners awaiting trial. On Friday, The Herald-Press publisher announced that the newspaper would reduce its print edition to three days a week in response to the economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus.

A special citation went to Ida B. Wells, the pioneering investigative reporter who was born into slavery and exposed the horrors of lynching in the United States through her work.

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