The 2021 winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Journalism were announced on June 11, 2021. Congratulations to all the amazing writers and staffs!
Descriptions of the individual awards are credited to the Pulitzer Prize website. Links (in brown) will take you to more information about the winners.
Public Service winner and the recipient of the Gold Medal in Journalism:
The New York Times For courageous, prescient and sweeping coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that exposed racial and economic inequities, government failures in the U.S. and beyond, and filled a data vacuum that helped local governments, healthcare providers, businesses and individuals to be better prepared and protected.
Breaking News Reporting: Staff of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn.
For its urgent, authoritative and nuanced coverage of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis and of the reverberations that followed.
Investigative Reporting: Matt Rocheleau, Vernal Coleman, Laura Crimaldi, Evan Allen and Brendan McCarthy of The Boston Globe For reporting that uncovered a systematic failure by state governments to share information about dangerous truck drivers that could have kept them off the road, prompting immediate reforms.
Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Andrea Januta, Jaimi Dowdell and Jackie Botts of Reuters For an exhaustive examination, powered by a pioneering data analysis of U.S. federal court cases, of the obscure legal doctrine of “qualified immunity” and how it shields police who use excessive force from prosecution.
Ed Yong of The Atlantic For a series of lucid, definitive pieces on the COVID-19 pandemic that anticipated the course of the disease, synthesized the complex challenges the country faced, illuminated the U.S. government’s failures and provided clear and accessible context for the scientific and human challenges it posed.
Local Reporting: Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi of the Tampa Bay Times For resourceful, creative reporting that exposed how a powerful and politically connected sheriff built a secretive intelligence operation that harassed residents and used grades and child welfare records to profile schoolchildren.
National Reporting: Staffs of The Marshall Project; AL.com, Birmingham; IndyStar, Indianapolis; and the Invisible Institute, Chicago For a year-long investigation of K-9 units and the damage that police dogs inflict on Americans, including innocent citizens and police officers, prompting numerous statewide reforms.
International Reporting: Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek of BuzzFeed News For a series of clear and compelling stories that used satellite imagery and architectural expertise, as well as interviews with two dozen former prisoners, to identify a vast new infrastructure built by the Chinese government for the mass detention of Muslims.
Mitchell S. Jackson, freelance contributor, Runner’s World For a deeply affecting account of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery that combined vivid writing, thorough reporting and personal experience to shed light on systemic racism in America.
Nadja Drost, freelance contributor, The California Sunday Magazine For a brave and gripping account of global migration that documents a group’s journey on foot through the Darién Gap, one of the most dangerous migrant routes in the world.
Commentary: Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch For penetrating and historically insightful columns that guided Richmond, a former capital of the Confederacy, through the painful and complicated process of dismantling the city’s monuments to white supremacy.
Criticism: Wesley Morris of The New York Times For unrelentingly relevant and deeply engaged criticism on the intersection of race and culture in America, written in a singular style, alternately playful and profound.
Editorial Writing: Robert Greene of the Los Angeles Times For editorials on policing, bail reform, prisons and mental health that clearly and holistically examined the Los Angeles criminal justice system.
Breaking News Photography: Photography Staff of Associated Press For a collection of photographs from multiple U.S. cities that cohesively captures the country’s response to the death of George Floyd.
Audio Reporting: Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little of National Public Radio For an investigative series on “no compromise” gun rights activists that illuminated the profound differences and deepening schism between American conservatives.