The 2020 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced on May 4 in 15 Journalism categories and seven Book, Drama and Music categories. The Pulitzer Prizes in journalism were first awarded in 1917 and are considered the field’s most prestigious honor in the U.S.
There were a couple firsts in this year's announcement of the winners of the Pulitzer Prize. First off, it was done remotely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"It goes without saying that today, we announce the Pulitzer winners in deeply trying times," said Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, from her living room. "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 protect our democracy."
The other new twist was the inaugural award for audio reporting, which went to the staff of the public radio show and podcast, This American Life, along with Los Angeles Times reporter Molly O'Toole and Vice News freelance reporter Emily Green. The winning episode, "The Out Crowd," covered the impact on individuls of President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policies.
The board also awarded a special citation to Ida B. Wells — the journalist and suffragist who spent the 1890s documenting lynching in the United States.
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On the Arts and Letters side, author Colson Whitehead won his second Pulitzer for his novel, The Nickel Boys. It's based on a real-life Florida reform school where students were physically and sexually abused (Whitehead previously won in 2017 for his book The Underground Railroad). The board awarded the drama prize to Michael R. Jackson's A Strange Loop — a musical about a gay Black man working as an usher at a Broadway show, writing a musical about a gay Black man working as an usher at a Broadway show.
Public Service: The Anchorage Daily News, in collaboration with ProPublica
Breaking News Reporting: The staff of the Louisville Courrier-Journal
Investigative Reporting: Brian M. Rosenthal, The New York Times
Explanatory Reporting: The staff of The Washington Post
Local Reporting: Staff of The Baltimore Sun
National Reporting: T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi, ProPublica and Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times
International Reporting: The staff of the New York Times
Feature Writing: Ben Taub, The New Yorker
Commentary: Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times
Criticism: Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times
Editorial Writing: Jeffery Gerritt, Palestine Herald-Press
Editorial Cartooning: Bary Blitt, The New Yorker
Breaking News Photography: The photography staff of Reuters
Feature Photography: Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin, The Associated Press
Audio Reporting: This American Life
Letters, Drama and Music
Drama: A Strange Loop, by Michael R. Jackson
History: Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, by W. Caleb McDaniel
Biography: Sontag: Her Life and Work, by Benjamin Moser
Poetry: The Tradition, by Jericho Brown
General Nonfiction: The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care, by Anne Boyer and The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, by Greg Grandin
Music: The Central Park Five, by Anthony Davis
Fiction: The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead