Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday to news organizations that delved into corporate corruption, sexual violence, foreign election interference and the legacy of racism in the United States, recognizing journalists’ examinations of inequality and other societal ills.
The New York Times won three prizes on Monday, in the categories of commentary, investigative journalism and international reporting.
The commentary award went to Nikole Hannah-Jones, a correspondent 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, a podcast and a curriculum.
The investigative prize went to a Times investigation, by Brian M. Rosenthal, on the New York City taxi industry. It found that the 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 one thousand medallion owners to file for bankruptcy and contributing to at least nine suicides. The series prompted the city to propose a $500 million bailout.
The board awarded its international prize to a series by the staff of The Times detailing Russia’s influence operations abroad, from assassinations to election-meddling, in the years following its disinformation efforts in the 2016 U.S. elections.
The award for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, went to The Anchorage Daily News and the nonprofit outlet organization ProPublica for their yearlong joint investigation of sexual violence in Alaska.
The series uncovered a “two-tiered” criminal justice system in Alaska, in which rural communities, disproportionately populated by Indigenous people, had limited or no access to law enforcement. The report found that these cities and towns had four times as many sex offenders as other areas in the United States, per capita.
The annual awards, 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.”