The 2021 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded by Columbia University on Friday, with two major stories present across the list of winners: the novel coronavirus pandemic and coverage of the police response to protests that followed the murder of George Floyd.

The staff of the Minneapolis Star Tribune won the Pulitzer for breaking news reporting for what the Pulitzer board says was their “urgent, authoritative and nuanced coverage” of Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.

The board also awarded a special citation to Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the video of Floyd’s murder and sparked the protests around the world.

Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Andrea Januta, Jaimi Dowdell and Jackie Botts of Reuters won one of two prizes in the explanatory reporting category, for their story and accompanying data analysis exploring the legal doctrine of “qualified immunity,” which often shields police officers from prosecution. The Tampa Bay Times won in the local reporting category for a story on a sheriff who built a secretive intelligence operation, while the staffs of The Marshall Project,, IndyStar and Invisible Institute won the national reporting prize for their investigation into police K-9 units. Meanwhile, the photography staff of the Associated Press won the photography breaking news prize for their coverage of last year’s protests across the country.

As for pandemic coverage: The New York Times won the award for public service, for what the board said was its “courageous, prescient and sweeping” coverage of the pandemic. Ed Yong at The Atlantic was the other winner in the explanatory reporting category for his series of pieces on the pandemic, and Emilio Morenatti of the AP won the feature photography prize for his photos about how Spain’s elderly struggled during the pandemic.

Elsewhere, BuzzFeed News won its first-ever Pulitzer, for its story on the infrastructure China built to house its mass detention of Uyghur Muslims. The New York Times‘ Wesley Morris won in the criticism category for his writing on the intersection of race and culture in America, and Robert Greene of The Los Angeles Times won in the editorial writing category for his editorials on L.A.’s criminal justice system.

In the drama category, Katori Hall’s off-Broadway play The Hot Wing King took top honors in the drama category. Hall, who also created Starz’s P-Valley, previously was nominated for a Tony Award for her Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Meanwhile Stride by Tania Leon won the Pulitzer for music. The complete list of winners is here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *