The 2019 Pulitzer Prizes, which were announced on Monday, paid special attention to investigations involving Donald Trump and reporting on gun safety. Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy said the 18-member board had kept in mind the tense political landscape of the United States while choosing the winners.
Winners in the field of news reporting included the Wall Street Journal for its investigations of discreet payments orchestrated by Michael Cohen to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Donald Trump before he became the US president. The New York Times won an award in explanatory reporting for its investigation of the Trump family wealth and tax arrangements to skirt inheritance tax laws.
Three Pulitzers were awarded to coverage of gun control matters. This included a special public service award to South Florida Sun Sentinel for its coverage of the shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The prize for breaking news reporting went to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for coverage of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people were killed. The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, got a special citation for its coverage of a gun attack in the newsroom that claimed five staff members.
The Pulitzer for investigative reporting was awarded to three Los Angeles Times reporters for their coverage of George Tyndall, a gynaecologist accused of abusing hundreds of students at the University of Southern California. The award for international reporting went to a team of Associated Press journalists for their work on Yemen’s civil war.
Reuters was also recognised for international reporting for its coverage of the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. Its reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, are serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of violating Myanmar’s Secrets Act.
Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play Fairview, which deals with white people’s obsession with African American stereotypes, won the Pulitzer for drama. Richard Powers’ novel The Overstory won the fiction prize while David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass won for the best work of history.
The biography award went to Jeffrey Stewart’s The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, and Eliza Griswold’s Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America won the award in the general non-fiction category. The poetry award was given to Forrest Gander’s elegiac Be With while Ellen Reid’s opera prism won the Pulitzer in music.
A posthumous citation was made to Aretha Franklin “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades”.
Each recipient receives $15,000 (approximately Rs 10 lakh) in award money. The Pulitzers, the most prestigious prizes in American journalism, have been awarded since 1917. The 18-member Pulitzer board consists of past winners and other distinguished journalists and academics.