(All Images Provided by The Communications Office of the Pulitzer Prizes)
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners in 14 journalism and seven letters, drama and music categories were announced on Monday, April 16 at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The formal announcement of the prizes, made each April, states that the awards are made by the president of Columbia University on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize board. This formulation is derived from the Joseph Pulitzer will, which established Columbia as the seat of the administration of the prizes. Today, in fact, the independent board makes all the decisions relative to the prizes. In his will, Pulitzer bestowed an endowment on Columbia of $2,000,000 for the establishment of a School of Journalism, one-fourth of which was to be “applied to prizes or scholarships for the encouragement of public service, public morals, American literature, and the advancement of education.“
In doing so, he stated: “I am deeply interested in the progress and elevation of journalism, having spent my life in that profession, regarding it as a noble profession and one of unequaled importance for its influence upon the minds and morals of the people. I desire to assist in attracting to this profession young men of character and ability, also to help those already engaged in the profession to acquire the highest moral and intellectual training.” In his ascent to the summit of American journalism, Pulitzer himself received little or no assistance. He prided himself on being a self-made man, but it may have been his struggles as a young journalist that imbued him with the desire to foster professional training.”
The iconic Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal is awarded each year to the American news organization that wins the Public Service category. It is never awarded to an individual. However, through the years, the Medal has come to symbolize the entire Pulitzer program.
In 1918, a year after the Prizes began, the medal was designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French and his associate Henry Augustus Lukeman. French later gained fame for his seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. One side of the medal displays the profile of Benjamin Franklin, apparently based on the bust by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Decorating the other side is a husky, bare-chested printer at work, his shirt draped across the end of a press. Surrounding the printer are the words: “For disinterested and meritorious public service rendered by an American newspaper during the year….“
The name of the winning news organization is inscribed on the Franklin side of the medal. The year of the award is memorialized on the other side.
The 2018 Prize winners are:
The New York Times, for reporting led by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, and The New Yorker, for reporting by Ronan Farrow
For explosive, impactful journalism that exposed powerful and wealthy sexual predators, including allegations against one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, bringing them to account for long-suppressed allegations of coercion, brutality and victim silencing, thus spurring a worldwide reckoning about sexual abuse of women.
For lucid and tenacious coverage of historic wildfires that ravaged the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, expertly utilizing an array of tools, including photography, video and social media platforms, to bring clarity to its readers — in real time and in subsequent in-depth reporting.
For purposeful and relentless reporting that changed the course of a Senate race in Alabama by revealing a candidate’s alleged past sexual harassment of teenage girls and subsequent efforts to undermine the journalism that exposed it.
For vivid and timely reporting that masterfully combined text, video, podcasts and virtual reality to examine, from multiple perspectives, the difficulties and unintended consequences of fulfilling President Trump’s pledge to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
For a riveting and insightful narrative and video documenting seven days of greater Cincinnati’s heroin epidemic, revealing how the deadly addiction has ravaged families and communities.
For deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration. (The New York Times entry, submitted in this category, was moved into contention by the Board and then jointly awarded the Prize.)
For relentless reporting that exposed the brutal killing campaign behind Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
For an unforgettable portrait of murderer Dylann Roof, using a unique and powerful mix of reportage, first-person reflection and analysis of the historical and cultural forces behind his killing of nine people inside Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
For lyrical and courageous commentary that is rooted in Alabama but has a national resonance in scrutinizing corrupt politicians, championing the rights of women and calling out hypocrisy.
For a robust body of work that conveyed a canny and often daring perspective on visual art in America, encompassing the personal, the political, the pure and the profane.
For examining in a clear, indignant voice, free of cliché or sentimentality, the damaging consequences for poor Iowa residents of privatizing the state’s administration of Medicaid.
For an emotionally powerful series, told in graphic narrative form, that chronicled the daily struggles of a real-life family of refugees and its fear of deportation.
For a chilling image that reflected the photographer’s reflexes and concentration in capturing the moment of impact of a car attack during a racially charged protest in Charlottesville, Va.
For shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar. (Moved by the Board from the Breaking News Photography category, where it was entered.)
Letters, Drama and Music
A generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.
An honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver.
An important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that brings crucial attention to Earth’s 10th-largest body of water, one of the planet’s most diverse and productive marine ecosystems.
A deeply researched and elegantly written portrait of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, that describes how Wilder transformed her family’s story of poverty, failure and struggle into an uplifting tale of self-reliance, familial love, and perseverance.
A volume of unyielding ambition and remarkable scope that mixes long dramatic poems with short elliptical lyrics, building on classical mythology and reinventing forms of desires that defy societal norms.
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, by James Forman Jr. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
An examination of the historical roots of contemporary criminal justice in the U.S., based on vast experience and deep knowledge of the legal system, and its often-devastating consequences for citizens and communities of color.
Recording released on April 14, 2017, a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.