2017 Pulitzer Prizes

Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian immigrant, became one of the greatest American newspaper publishers in history. He established the Pulitzer Prizes for achievements in journalism, literature, music, and art. Credit: © Hulton Archives/Getty Images


The winners of the 101st Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday by Columbia University on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. The awards are given in the United States each year for distinguished achievement in journalism, literature, drama, and music.

The public service prize in 2017 went to the New York Daily News and to ProPublica for uncovering widespread abuse of eviction rules by police to oust hundreds of people, most of them poor minorities. The staff of the East Bay Times (Oakland, California) won the breaking-news reporting prize for its coverage of the “Ghost Ship” warehouse party fire in Oakland that killed 36 people, and for its reporting after the tragedy that exposed the city’s failure to take actions that might have prevented it. The prize for investigative reporting went to Eric Eyre of the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail for exposing the flood of opioids flowing into depressed West Virginia counties, which have the highest overdose death rates in the country.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the McClatchy Company, and The Miami Herald won the explanatory-reporting prize for the Panama Papers, a series of stories using a collaboration of more than 300 reporters on six continents to expose the hidden infrastructure and global scale of offshore tax havens. The staff of the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune won the local-reporting prize for reports revealing the punitive and cruel treatment given to sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University. David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post won the national-reporting prize for his coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald Trump, which cast doubt on Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities. The staff of The New York Times won the international reporting prize for its examination of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to project Russia’s power abroad, revealing techniques that included assassination, online harassment, and the planting of incriminating evidence on opponents. C. J. Chivers of the The New York Times won the feature-writing prize for his look at a U.S. Marine’s postwar descent into violence.

Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal won the commentary award for her columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation’s most divisive political campaigns. Hilton Als of The New Yorker won for theater criticism. Art Cullen of The Storm Lake (Iowa) Times won for editorial writing. Jim Morin of The Miami Herald won for editorial cartooning. Free-lancer Daniel Berehulak won for breaking-news photography for his images published in The New York Times portraying the Philippine government’s assault on drug dealers and users. E. Jason Wambsgans of the Chicago Tribune won for feature photography for his his portrayal of a 10-year-old boy and his mother striving to put the boy’s life back together after he survived a shooting.

Colson Whitehead won the fiction-writing award for The Underground Railroad, which tells the story of two Georgia slaves who seek to escape their bondage by following an actual underground subway to freedom. Lynn Nottage won the drama prize for the second time, for Sweat, about steel workers in a Pennsylvania factory town ravaged by changing economics. Heather Ann Thompson won the history award for Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Hisham Matar won the biography or autobiography award for The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, a memoir of the author’s journey home to his native Libya in search of answers to his father’s disappearance. Tyehimba Jess won the poetry prize for Olio, his second volume of poetry. Matthew Desmond won the nonfiction prize for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, which examined the cause of mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash. Du Yun won the prize in music for Angel’s Bone, an operatic work that serves as an allegory for human trafficking in the modern world.

The Columbia University School of Journalism was founded in 1912, and the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded in 1917. Joseph Pulitzer, a newspaper publisher who founded the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, established the prizes. Nearly all of the Pulitzer Prizes have a value of $10,000. The only exception is the prize for public service in journalism. The winner of that award receives a gold medal.

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