The Latest: Aretha Franklin wins Pulitzer special citation

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the Pulitzer Prizes (all times local):

7 p.m.

Reuters’ leaders say they’re proud that the news service won Pulitzer Prizes for international reporting and breaking news photography, but they’re dismayed that two reporters are in prison for their award-winning work.

Thomson Reuters CEO Jim Smith says the news service “won’t be truly celebrating until Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are free.”

The journalists are serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. They were reporting on a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims by security forces in the Buddhist-majority country when they were arrested in December 2017.

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The prize-winning breaking news photographs depicted Central American migrants heading to the U.S.

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler says the recognition is gratifying, but in his words, “public attention should be focused more on the people about whom we report than on us.”

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4:55 p.m.

The staff of The Advocate has won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for its series about Louisiana’s conviction system, including a Jim Crow-era law that let as few as 10 jurors convict people in criminal cases.

The award was announced Monday in New York. The Pulitzer committee called the series “a damning portrayal of the state’s discriminatory conviction system.”

Seven months after the series was published, voters overturned the law. Editor Peter Kovacs says that “we put an issue on the radar screen and more than 900,000 people voted for it.”

The newspaper is based in Baton Rouge, but staffers at The New Orleans Advocate wrote the series, and Kovacs was in New Orleans for the announcement.

The staff drank champagne from purple, green or gold plastic cups like those thrown from Mardi Gras floats.

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4:35 p.m.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger has won a Pulitzer Prize for his series of columns about debtors’ prisons in Missouri.

The Pulitzer winners were announced Monday. Messenger won in the category of commentary.

Messenger found defendants across Missouri who owed thousands of dollars in “board bills” for time spent in jail even though they had fulfilled their sentences or served out parole.

As a result of his work, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that judges can’t use courts to threaten indigent defendants with jail time, nor can they collect debts as court costs.

Post-Dispatch President and Publisher Ray Farris said Messenger’s work “exemplifies the highest standards of our profession.”

The newspaper also won a Pulitzer Prize, U.S. journalism’s highest honor, in 2015 for photographic coverage of the unrest in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s death.

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4:15 p.m.

Three Los Angeles Times reporters have won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for their coverage of a gynecologist accused of abusing hundreds of students at the University of Southern California.

Harriet Ryan, Matt Hamilton and Paul Pringle won the prize Monday for their stories about Dr. George Tyndall, which started with an anonymous tip Ryan received.

In the wake of the stories, the university’s president resigned, the Los Angeles Police Department launched an investigation and more than 650 women have sued USC, alleging the school failed to protect them from sexual abuse. Tyndall has denied the allegations.

Videos posted by their colleagues show the newsroom erupting into cheers when Ryan, Hamilton and Pringle’s win was announced live in New York.

One reporter posted the newsroom was celebrating with champagne.

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3:55 p.m.

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play “Fairview,” which skewers white people’s obsession with African American stereotypes, has won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

“Fairview” begins as a contemporary domestic comedy involving a well-off black family and ends with the invisible fourth wall destroyed and the audience pulled down a rabbit hole involving race and identity.

The Pulitzer board called it a “hard-hitting drama that examines race in a highly conceptual, layered structure, ultimately bringing audiences into the actors’ community to face deep-seated prejudices.”

The play was originally commissioned and produced by Soho Rep and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Sibblies Drury is New York City-based playwright whose plays include “Really, “Social Creatures” and “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation.”

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3:45 p.m.

Three Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded to newspapers for their coverage of gun violence.

The Pulitzer for public service was awarded Monday to the South Florida Sun Sentinel for its coverage of the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018. Seventeen students and staff were killed in the shooting.

The prize for breaking news reporting went to went to the staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for coverage of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. That attack killed 11 people.

The Capital Gazette was given a special citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its own newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. The newspaper published on schedule the day after the shooting claimed five staffers’ lives. It was one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history. The man charged in the attack had a longstanding grudge against the paper.

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3:40 p.m.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on President Donald Trump.

The Journal won its Pulitzer in national reporting for its investigations of hush money payments orchestrated by the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The New York Times was awarded a Pulitzer in explanatory reporting for investigation of Trump family tax schemes that helped the president’s father pass on millions of dollars to his children while minimizing inheritance taxes.

Trump has denied having affairs with the women.

He has also denied that his family did anything improper regarding his taxes, calling the Times report a “hit piece.”

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3:35 p.m.

Aretha Franklin has been given an honorary Pulitzer Prize, cited posthumously for her extraordinary career.

Pulitzer judges also awarded Richard Powers’ innovative novel “The Overstory” the fiction prize and named David W. Blight’s 900-page “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” the best work of history.

On Monday, the biography prize went to Jeffrey C. Stewart’s “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke,” and the drama award to “Fairview,” by Jackie Sibblies Drury. Eliza Griswold’s “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America” won for general nonfiction, and Ellen Reid’s opera “p r i s m” for music. The poetry award was given to Forrest Gander’s elegiac “Be With.”

Franklin, who died last summer, is the first woman singled out for an honorary Pulitzer, which has been given to Bob Dylan and John Coltrane, among others.

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3:30 p.m.

A team of Associated Press journalists has won a Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for their work documenting torture, graft and starvation in Yemen’s brutal civil war.

The prize was announced Monday in New York at Columbia University.

Reporter Maggie Michael, photographer Nariman El-Mofty and videographer Maad al-Zikry spent a year uncovering atrocities and suffering in Yemen.

In a series of stories, they told of how people in parts of Yemen were reduced to eating leaves while corrupt officials diverted international food aid.

Reuters also won for international reporting for work that cost two of its staffers their liberty: shedding light on a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims by security forces in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. Their supporters say the two were framed in retaliation for their reporting.

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9:10 a.m.

The newest winners of the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and the arts are set to be revealed.

This year’s honorees will be announced Monday at Columbia University in New York.

The journalism awards will recognize exceptional work in 2018 by U.S. newspapers, magazines and online outlets. There are 14 categories for reporting, photography, criticism, commentary and cartoons.

Arts prizes are awarded in seven categories, including fiction, drama and music.

The first journalism prizes were awarded in 1917, and they have come to be considered the field’s most prestigious honor in the U.S.

The contest was established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.

Winners of the public service award receive a gold medal. The other awards carry a prize of $15,000 each.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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