2019 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced April 15 at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York City. Pulitzer administrator, Dana Canedy, awarded $15,000 prizes to finalists in the categories of Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music, and Special Citations.

The prestigious award has been presented since 1917 after newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer donated money in his will to Columbia University to launch a journalism school, allocating prizes and scholarships in journalism and letters. Notable past winners include names like Robert Frost, Toni Morrison, and Ronan Farrow.

Today, the Pulitzer Prize Board reviews and considers only those works specifically entered for each prize category. The Board then selects around 100 jurors to serve on 20 separate juries for the award categories, usually consisting of 5-7 members per jury. Each jury then makes three nominations, of which the board then selects the winner by majority vote. This year’s winners honor journalists, poets, fiction writers, and artists who have crafted their storytelling across mediums and from local newsrooms to national publications.

Coverage of three U.S. mass shootings dominated regional news coverage winners, with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and the Capital Gazette of Maryland prevailing in the categories of Public Service, Breaking News Reporting, and a $100,000 special citation bequest, respectively.  

Of the award, editor of the Capital Gazette Rick Hutzell said, “Clearly, there were a lot of mixed feelings. No one wants to win an award for something that kills five of your friends.”

Other themes emerged among this year’s finalists, including the corruption scandals surrounding President Donald Trump as well as the threats facing minority communities and immigrants in the U.S.

Additional 2019 winners for journalism include the following:

  • Feature Writing: Hannah Dreier of ProPublica

  • Investigative Reporting: Matt Hamilton, Harriet Ryan and Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times

  • Explanatory Reporting: David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner of The New York Times

  • Local Reporting: The staff of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

  • National Reporting: The staff of The Wall Street Journal

  • International Reporting: split between the staff of Reuters, including the imprisoned journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo; and Maggie Michael, Maad al-Zikry and Nariman El-Mofty of The Associated Press

  • Breaking News Reporting: Staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • Commentary: Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • Criticism: Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post

  • Editorial Writing: Brent Staples of The New York Times

  • Editorial Cartooning: Darrin Bell, freelance cartoonist

  • Breaking News Photography: the photography staff of Reuters

  • Feature Photography: Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post


Winners in Letters, Drama, & Music:

  • Fiction: The Overstory, by Richard Powers

  • Biography: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Jeffrey C. Stewart

  • Poetry: Be With, by Forrest Gander

  • General Nonfiction: Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America, by Eliza Griswold

  • Music: p r i s m, by Ellen Reid

  • Drama: Fairview, Jackie Sibblies Drury


Special Awards & Citations:

  • Special Award: Aretha Franklin