Anchorage Daily News, ProPublica win Pulitzer Prize for investigation on sexual violence

Brian Stelter marks World Press Freedom Day and discusses a recent coronavirus-triggered crackdown on reporting in some countries. Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of the Guardian newspaper, says "whenever there is a shock to the system, governments will try to use that" to limit access and scrutiny, "unless we keep an eye on them."

Posted: May 4, 2020 8:21 PM
Updated: May 4, 2020 8:21 PM

Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica received this year's Pulitzer Prize for public service for their collaborative investigation into sexual violence in Alaska.

The public service category is often considered the most prestigious of the journalism Pulitzer Prizes.

The New York Times won three awards on Monday, including one for commentary that went to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her essay on The 1619 Project, a series that reexamined the history of slavery in America.

Other awards went to The New Yorker, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Baltimore Sun, The Seattle Times and the Palestine Herald-Press in Texas are among the local newspapers that won prizes on Monday. A podcast from This American Life, with reporting by Molly O'Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green of Vice News, took home the first ever prize for audio reporting.

These news organizations won their Pulitzers for reporting on a number of issues including election interference, climate change, political corruption and government oppression.

"It goes without saying that today we announce the Pulitzer winners in deeply trying times," Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy said on the live broadcast. "Throughout America's greatest challenges, the Pulitzer Prizes have continued to celebrate excellence in journalism and arts and letters because in difficult times the Pulitzers may be more important than ever."

The Pulitzer Prizes, administered by Columbia University, are the most prestigious awards in American journalism. Every year, they honor reporting in newspapers, magazines and digital news outlets.

The Pulitzer Prize Board, made up of 19 members, originally intended to announce the winners on April 20. But the board postponed the event to give the judges more time to evaluate the finalists amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even during Monday's livestream of the announcements, the impact of pandemic and other threats to press freedom loomed large. Newspapers and other media companies across the country have furloughed and laid off workers because of the economic downturn prompted by the health crisis.

"During this season of unprecedented uncertainty, one thing we know for sure is that journalism never stops, much like our courageous first responders and health care workers, journalists are running toward the fire," Canedy said on the broadcast. "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."

Here is the full list of journalism prizes awarded on Monday afternoon:

PUBLIC SERVICE

Anchorage Daily News in collaboration with ProPublica

BREAKING NEWS REPORTING

Staff of The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times

EXPLANATORY REPORTING

Staff of The Washington Post

LOCAL REPORTING

Staff of The Baltimore Sun

NATIONAL REPORTING

T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica

Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times

INTERNATIONAL REPORTING

Staff of The New York Times

FEATURE WRITING

Ben Taub of The New Yorker

COMMENTARY

Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times

CRITICISM

Christopher Knight of Los Angeles Times

EDITORIAL WRITING

Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine Herald Press in Palestine, Texas

EDITORIAL CARTOONING

Barry Blitt, contributor of The New Yorker

BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography Staff of Reuters

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of Associated Press

AUDIO REPORTING

Staff of This American Life with Molly O'Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green of Vice News for "The Out Crowd"

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