Pulitzer Prizes Honor Journalists Under Threat With New...
Updated at 4:24 p.m. ET
Dana Canedy kept her remarks brief Monday. But by the time the Pulitzer Prize administrator left the lectern at Columbia University, she had significantly altered the careers and prospects of a host of journalists, artists and scholars across nearly two dozen categories.
With their $15,000 in award money, each is receiving a new laurel that'll likely prove more valuable: the title "Pulitzer Prize winner."
In comments to Poynter before the ceremony, Canedy signaled that she and the rest of the 18-member Pulitzer Prize Board (one of whom is Nancy Barnes, NPR's senior vice president for news) would be keeping the country's fraught political landscape in mind when selecting this year's winners.
"There was so much extraordinary work submitted," Canedy said, "even in a year when journalism is yet again under relentless assault, including from the highest office in the land, and when the security threats remain high for journalists simply seeking to do their jobs."
A range of journalism fields — including breaking news and investigative reporting, criticism and cartooning — account for 14 of the prizes Canedy is announcing Monday. The other seven are reserved for the arts and scholarship: fiction, music, history and several others.
This year, Canedy deviated from the usual plan in order to honor two more recipients. The Pulitzer board recognized the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., which suffered a gunman's deadly attack last year. Along with the honor, the staff of the paper is receiving a $100,000 bequest to support its work.
The board also made an addition to the usual roster of categories in the fields of arts and letters, honoring the late Aretha Franklin for her decades-long career and vast influence.
All told, prize administrators say they regularly receive upward of 2,500 entries submitted each year for their consideration. It takes more than 100 judges to shave that snowdrift of submissions down to something manageable for the board, which typically then picks the final winners by majority vote.
- Feature Writing: Hannah Dreier of ProPublica
- Public Service: South Florida Sun Sentinel
- Investigative Reporting: Matt Hamilton, Harriet Ryan and Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times
- Explanatory Reporting: David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner of The New York Times
- Local Reporting: The staff of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.
- National Reporting: The staff of The Wall Street Journal
- International Reporting: split between: the staff of Reuters, including the imprisoned journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo; and Maggie Michael, Maad al-Zikry and Nariman El-Mofty of The Associated Press
- Breaking News Reporting: Staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Commentary: Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Criticism: Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post
- Editorial Writing: Brent Staples of The New York Times
- Editorial Cartooning: Darrin Bell, freelance cartoonist
- Breaking News Photography: the photography staff of Reuters
- Feature Photography: Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post
- Special Citation, with a $100,000 bequest: The staff of the Annapolis Capital Gazette
- Fiction: The Overstory, by Richard Powers
- History: Frederick Douglass, by David W. Blight
- Biography: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Jeffrey C. Stewart
- Poetry: Be With, by Forrest Gander
- General Nonfiction: Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America, by Eliza Griswold
- Music: p r i s m, by Ellen Reid
- Drama: Fairview, Jackie Sibblies Drury
- Special citation: Aretha Franklin