An investigation into Donald Trump’s election campaign by The Washington Post and a series of articles by The New York Times on president Vladimir Putin’s efforts to project Russia power abroad, were among this year’s Pulitzer prize winners.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign
Operating in the glare of the 2016 presidential campaign, David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post took the national reporting award. The judges said he “created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities.”
Fahrenthold found that Trump’s charitable giving had not always matched his public statements. He also broke perhaps the biggest scoop of the campaign, revealing Trump had been captured on videotape making crude remarks about women and bragging about kissing and grabbing them without their permission.
Putin’s power plays
The New York Times staff won the international reporting prize for articles on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to project Russia’s power abroad.
The Times revealed “techniques that included assassination, online harassment and the planting of incriminating evidence on opponents,” the judges said.
The Daily News of New York and ProPublica, a web-based platform specialising in investigative journalism, won the prize for public service journalism for its coverage of New York police abuses that forced mostly poor minorities from their homes.
Other winners included an international consortium of more than 300 reporters which exposed the so-called Panama Papers detailing the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens used by the high and mighty.
The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, a long-time Republican, took the commentary prize for a series of critical pieces about Trump during the real estate magnate’s successful run for the White House.
Reporter Eric Eyre of Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia took the prize for investigative reporting for exposing the use of opioids in the US state, which has America’s highest overdose death rates.
The staff of the East Bay Times of Oakland, California, won the breaking news award for coverage of the “Ghost Ship” fire that killed 36 people at a warehouse party. It exposed the city’s failure to take action which that might have prevented the disaster.
Reuters was a finalist in the national reporting and breaking news photography categories. Photographer Jonathan Bachman was recognized for his image of a woman being detained by police during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In national reporting, the Reuters team of Renee Dudley, Steve Stecklow, Alexandra Harney, Irene Jay Liu, Koh Gui Qing, James Pomfret and Ju-min Park was recognized for their series “Cheat Sheet,” documenting how the business of college admissions and standardised testing has been corrupted.
Author Colson Whitehead won the fiction award for “The Underground Railroad,” a work the judges said “combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.”
The Pulitzers, the most prestigious honours in American journalism, began in 1917 after a bequest from newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.
More than 2,500 entries were submitted this year, competing for 21 prizes. Seven of the awards recognise fiction, drama, history, biographies, poetry, general non-fiction and music.
The 19-member Pulitzer board is made up of past winners and other distinguished journalists and academics. It chose the winners with the help of 102 jurors.