The breaking news prize for protest coverage was shared by 10 AP photographers. One widely reproduced photograph by Julio Cortez on the night of May 28 in riot-torn Minneapolis shows a lone, silhouetted protester running with an upside-down American flag past a burning liquor store.
A protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody, broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night. The image was part of a series of photographs by The Associated Press that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Credit: Julio Cortez
Credit: Julio Cortez
The Star Tribune won for breaking news for its coverage of the May 25, 2020 killing of Floyd and the resulting civil unrest that tore through the city. Floyd, a Black man, died as he was being pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Video of the killing sparked a wave of protests, first in the Twin Cities and then nationwide. Star Tribune journalists covered the rage in Minneapolis, where protesters burned buildings including a police station.
The officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds was later convicted of murder.
The New York Times won its public service prize for pandemic coverage the judges said was “courageous, prescient and sweeping coverage” and “filled the data vacuum” for the general public. Wesley Morris of the Times won for criticism touching on the intersection of race and culture.
The Boston Globe received the investigative reporting Pulitzer for a series demonstrating how poor government oversight imperils road safety.
Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory praised his staff’s winning coverage for the investigative reporting Pulitzer.
“Globe journalists covering that deadly crash on an isolated stretch of highway in New Hampshire quickly discovered an appalling number of lapses on the part of our government, and wouldn’t let go,” McGrory said. “They pried out an enormous amount of vital data. They practiced tireless shoe-leather reporting. What they produced has created immediate reforms, resulted in deadly drivers being taken off the road, and has surely saved lives.”
Brendan McCarthy, the editor on the series, said the Globe “quickly found that this kind of tragedy had been happening year after year for decades. The problems were in plain sight but had never been addressed.”
The prize for explanatory reporting was shared by two recipients, including Reuters. Ed Yong of The Atlantic won for a series of deeply reported and accessible articles about the pandemic.
This is the second such ceremony to be pushed back amid the pandemic. Last year’s announcement was pushed back two weeks to give board members busy covering the pandemic more time to evaluate the finalists.
The Pulitzer Prizes in journalism were first awarded in 1917 and are considered the field’s most prestigious honor in the United States.
The awards luncheon traditionally held at Columbia University in May also is postponed.