The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica won the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for revealing one-third of Alaska's villages had no police protection, while the photography staff of Reuters won the breaking news photography award for documenting last year's violent protests in Hong Kong.
The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, took home the breaking news honor for its coverage of hundreds of last-minute pardons issued by former Governor Matt Bevin. The prize for investigative reporting went to the New York Times' Brian Rosenthal, who exposed how thousands of New York City's taxi drivers had their lives ruined by predatory lending.
The Pulitzer Prize for Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters , was the newsroom's eighth since 2008, and fifth in the last three years.
The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in American journalism, have been handed out since 1917, when newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer established them in his will. Monday's announcement had been postponed for two weeks because some journalists on the Pulitzer board are covering the coronavirus pandemic and needed additional time to evaluate the entries.
In normal years, the prizes are announced before a crowd at Columbia University in New York. On Monday, Dana Canedy, who administers the Pulitzers, delivered the news from her living room, after the 18 board members hashed out the finalists and winners in "virtual and digital debate."
"Ironically, the very first time the Prizes were presented was June 1917 — less than a year before the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu pandemic," she said. "During this season of unprecedented uncertainty, one thing we know for sure is that journalism never stops."
The Anchorage Daily News series, which included contributions from the investigative site ProPublica, found rampant sexual abuse in rural villages that are largely populated by indigenous people, where law enforcement was effectively nonexistent.
The public service award is generally seen as the most coveted Pulitzer. The 2020 prize winners were in 15 categories of journalism and seven book, drama and music categories.