Sun Sentinel newsroom celebrates their bittersweet victory. AP photo. Front photo of Capital Gazette victims by Jose Luis Magana/AP
Celebrating the tenacious work of beleaguered journalists nationwide, the 2019 Pulitzers were awarded to three newsrooms documenting and even enduring gun violence - the Parkland, Tree of Life, and Capital Gazette mass shootings - and several laying bare Trump's criminal enterprises and porn-star payoffs. Speaking for the 18-member Pulitzer prize board, Dana Canedy cited the extraordinary work submitted “even in a year when journalism is yet again under relentless assault, including from the highest office in the land, and when the security threats remain high for journalists simply seeking to do their jobs” - often, he could have added, in newsrooms forced to make serious cuts. Recipients of key awards included the South Florida Sun Sentinel for exposing failings by school and law enforcement officials in connection with the Parkland shootings, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for "immersive, compassionate coverage of the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue that captured the anguish and resilience of a community thrust into grief."
Also recognized were the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for calling out, respectively, Trump's corruption and porn-star pay-offs. Aretha Franklin won a special award "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture." And a bittersweet special citation - and $100,000 bequest toward their mission - was awarded to the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD., who after a gunman killed five of their colleagues last June in the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history demonstrated, through their grief and fear, "unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community." The Gazette was also honored in December as one of Time's Persons of the Year, along with Jamal Khashoggi and several other journalists, as the guardians of truth and accountability - a tribute their editor deemed a “great and terrible honor.” This week's recognition again stirred complex emotions - "We hesitated to call it a celebration" - even as it reminded us of their vital work." Through unimaginable adversity and horror, (they) kept doing what no gunman could stop," said Poynter President Neil Brown. “They just kept publishing."