By Helen Cook
New York, Jun 11 (EFE).- Journalists’ efforts to report on the Covid-19 pandemic and the issue of police brutality in the United States – crystallized by the murder of George Floyd – garnered the top honors in the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes, announced Friday.
Last year, “the nation’s news organizations faced the complexity of sequentially covering a global pandemic, a racial reckoning and a bitterly contested presidential election,” Mindy Marques, co-chair of the Pulitzer Board, said during a ceremony streamed online.
The Pulitzer Board, which presents the prizes in conjunction with the Columbia University School of Journalism, bestowed the Public Service award on The New York Times for “courageous, prescient and sweeping coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.”
While the Breaking News prize went to the reporting staff of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis 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.”
“The Floyd story in particular highlighted not only the essential role of journalists, but the increasing importance of ordinary citizens in the quest for truth and justice,” Marques said.
“We want to note that the board has awarded a special citation to Darnella Frazier, the teenage witness who filmed and posted the transformative video that jolted viewers and spurred protests against police brutality around the world,” Marques added.
Veteran Spanish photojournalist Emilio Morenatti of The Associated Press won the Feature Photography prize for images depicting the lives of the elderly in Spain during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The AP photography staff were recognized with the Breaking News Photography award for their images “from multiple US cities that cohesively captures the country’s response to the death of George Floyd.”
Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek of BuzzFeed News received the International Reporting prize for “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.”
The Audio Reporting prize went to Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little of National Public Radio for a series on hard-line gun rights advocates in the US.
Winners in the Books Drama & Music Category include Louise Erdrich for her novel “The Night Watchman,” playwright Katori Hall for “The Hot Wing King” and composer Tania Leon for her piece “Stride.”
The announcement of the awards was postponed from the usual date in April to allow the board members to confer in person. EFE hc/dr