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2019 Pulitzer Prize Winners (www.pulitzer.org)
151 points by gurupanguji 8 days ago | hide | past | web | 56 comments | favorite

Great to see the South Florida Sun-Sentinel win its second Public Service [0] award (considered the most prestigious of the journalism Pulitzers). Its first Public Service award -- a 2013 investigation of speeding cops [1] -- is still one of my favorite examples of database-driven journalism; a combination of clever public records requests for metadata, and math, to prove something that technically didn't exist (i.e. cops are usually the deciders of who is speeding).

Its 2019 series about failures by school and police in the Parkland school shooting is also excellent. It also features among its public records work an milestone fuckup by officials in terms of PDF non-redaction [2].

[0] https://www.pulitzer.org/prize-winners-by-category/204

[1] https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/sun-sentinel

[2] https://www.cjr.org/local_news/redaction-sun-sentinel.php

"A special citation to honor the journalists, staff and editorial board of the Capital Gazette, Annapolis, Maryland, for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history in their newsroom on June 28, 2018, and for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief. The citation comes with a $100,000 bequest by the Pulitzer Board to be used to further the newspaper’s journalistic mission."

This is great

As an aside, I always recommend Pulitzer Prize winning “Soul of a New Machine” by Kidder to technical audiences. It’s a great read with some cool history too.


I'm a little surprised that Miami Herald isn't on the list for their Epstein reporting, maybe they're not eligible until next year.

> maybe they're not eligible until next year.

No, the work was eligible. I doubt Dershowitz's petition had any sway over the board. Frankly, while Julie Brown's reporting was astounding, there were better work. The Herald was a finalist for a story they did about gold.

I came across this open letter from Alan Dershowitz, lobbying against their Pulitzer consideration[1]. I haven't seen a public response from either the reporter or the Miami Herald, so I'm curious about their views of the points he brings up.

To be clear, I'm not saying he is accurate. I just don't know enough either way. He's obviously an interested party to the whole story.

[1] https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14003/pulitzer-prize-fake...

Do you think we should trust his narrative? I remember watching the disingenuous way he debated Chomsky on Israel/Palestine and thinking that he was totally sleazy

[1] https://youtu.be/3ux4JU_sbB0

Every public debate I have ever seen Dershowitz engage in (maybe 6 or 7 over the years) was profoundly disingenuous. Some of it I would characterize as blatant lying. Above and beyond that, he is consistently extremely rude to his interlocutors.

The man pretends to be an intellectual, but makes a mockery of it. It’s really a shame that Harvard continues to lend him its institutional credibility, and that other respected institutions invite him to comment about anything ever.

(I have no insight about the Epstein stuff; I’m just talking about his past public debates about a variety of legal and political topics.)

I am not sure. Like you, I have seen him engage in disingenuous methods of debating. However, it does seem he offered 'hard' proof to corroborate his story, which is why I'm curious to see how the Herald would respond. It seems we'll find out more about the Epstein affair as there are renewed pushes to investigate what happened in the plea deal.

Dersh argues many things confidently and aggressively that seem perhaps facially convincing. Or perhaps you simply don't have time or the presence of mind to present a counterargument in the moment. That's his "strength" as a lawyer. Don't believe any claim until you see the underlying exculpatory evidence, which only he claims exists and only he claims is exculpatory. In this case, he presents none of the evidence. Not one single piece of it. He only presents what the response of others was upon seeing it. He can pull this gag on the general public, but in a court one requires discovery.

I was actually browsing the Pulitzer site after reading this year's winners list - I decided to go to the beginning and find the first reference to 'President'. Louis Seibold of New York World for an interview with Woodrow Wilson. So I google Louis Seibold and come up with this '10 journos caught fabricating" on the Politic site (which includes the Dershowitz story, that's why I'm replying to your comment !) https://www.politico.com/story/2012/07/10-journos-caught-fab...

Probably some politics at play regarding Epstein.

One of last year's winner:

> Staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post

> 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.

Could've been worse. One of last year's nominees was an outright conspiracy theory involving Russian mind control chemicals and pretending that an obscure minor player in the Litvinenko investigation broke the case open to turn his apparent suicide into a Russian assassination.

This perfectly demonstrates the state of US media (and western media in general). After over 2 years of misinformation, unfounded allegations, and downright fabrications, the media are now congratulating themselves on a job well done.

It's clear that they have no intention of abandoning their Russiagate narrative, despite Mueller's report.

So you've read the report? To my knowledge, the only portion of the 300+ page report that has so far been published is a a sentence fragment quoted by Trump appointee Attorney General William Barr in his 4 page summary. Seems a little premature to conclude we have the whole story.

Also, multiple people close to Trump have been convicted of various crimes as a result of the past two years of investigation. Even if once the dust settles Trump stands clean and pure as the driven snow, investigators already have plenty to show for their work.

If the report is so damning otherwise, why is Barr even releasing it?

Because Democrats control the House and have subpoena power.

> After over 2 years of misinformation, unfounded allegations, and downright fabrications, the media are now congratulating themselves on a job well done.

How delusional are you?

I don't get why you are being downvoted. Mueller said there was no russian collusion.

And The NYTimes even published an "apology".


It's disappointing how politicized social media has become.

An op-ed column does not speak for the newspaper it is published in. It's literally the opposite of the editorial board. Thus the name "op-ed."

Mueller never said there was no collusion. Trump said Mueller said there was no collusion. Barr's summary quotes Mueller's report as saying “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” So they didn't find proof of collusion. That is not the same as concluding that collusion did not occur.

Barr also provides this other quote from Mueller's report: “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

As far as I know, op-ed stood for opinon editorial. To say it is "opposite of the editorial board" doesn't make sense when the editorial board themselves contribute to the op-ed. For example, the editorial board endorsed hillary clinton on their op-ed. How could that possibly be "opposite of the editorial board"?


Also, david brooks is a well established journalist who has written for the nytimes for a long time. Not saying he speaks for The NYTimes but I'm sure he expressed some of their sentiments.

In our legal system, we have the concept innocent until proven guilty. "Didn't find proof of collusion" means there wasn't any collusion for all intents and purposes. To claim collusion without proof is partaking in the world of conspiracy theories.

As for Mueller's statement, of course it doesn't exonerate Trump. In order to be exonerated, you have to be convicted of a crime first. You are exonerated of convictions. You also aren't exonerated for russian collusion because you've never been convicted of russian collusion. Mueller's statement apllies to you, me and pretty much everyone on earth.

You make it impossible to have a logical and rational conversation because you've decided to reject logic and rationality for politics, semantics and conspiracy theory. This is why the surge of politics on social media worries me.

How long do they debate for?

Latest piece is from june 2018(or I missed soemthing fresher?)!

The Board met last week and chose the winners on Friday. Winners and finalists are notified over the weekend. Everyone else is kept in the dark until the announcement Monday.

The Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shootings weren't until October 2018.

As a native Detroiter it was great to see Aretha Franklin receive recognition. Just sad she couldn't have been awarded it when she could have been alive to enjoy it.

Some amazing reporting listed here, including the runners-up.

Interesting that the music prize once again only cites “art music” after Kendrick Lamar won last year.

Interesting to see 4 winners with investigations about Trump.

Well, he is the president.

I honestly don't follow pulitzer prizes, but sampling a few recent years (in the past 20), I can't find any where there was ANY award for investigation against a president (there was one for investigation against Dick Cheney in 2008). Has this ever happened before?

A Pulitzer was awarded for reporting on Clinton's Lewinsky affair: https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/maureen-dowd

And I'm on mobile now but I'm sure they were awarded for some things having to do with the Iraq War.

If presidents commit crimes, that's highly notable (and a big deal).

Except that he didn't, which would imply that the journalism was a witch hunt.

Keep in mind that 8 of the last 20 years were the historically scandal-free Obama presidency. See eg. https://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/atd-I...

The Obama presidency wasn't completely scandal-free, but there wasn't much opportunity for Pulitzer level investigative reporting against him specifically.

There was significant reporting of his administration's spying on journalists:


It's not so much that there weren't scandals.

It's more about a press corps that let Obama get away with things they would have never given somebody like Trump a pass for.

For example, look at the press reaction to Obama refusing to prosecute CIA torture vs. Trump nominating one of the career officials Obama previously gave a pass to to head up the CIA.

Likewise, I doubt we would give Trump a pass for attempting to move due process free prisons like Gitmo onto American soil.

Gina Haspel, the current CIA chief, joined the CIA in 1985 and was not proposed for a permanent leadership position during Obama's time. Obama made a compromise in 2009 to not rock the boat when he entered the office. You expect people to treat this kind of "pardon" as no different than appointing someone to CIA chief? As Dexter Filkins put it: [0]

> When Obama took office, in 2009, he declared that he would not prosecute anyone involved in the C.I.A.’s interrogation programs, not even senior officers, among whom Haspel was one. At the time, Obama said he wanted to look forward and not back. But the past, as Obama well knows, never goes away. With the prospect of American torture looming again, I wonder if Obama regrets his decision. After all, people like Haspel, quite plausibly, could have gone to prison.

[0] https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-new-c-i-a-deput...

Very much this. For example, remember the scandal about illicit adoptions of immigrant kids away from their parents, the one everyone on social media was comparing to kidnapping? If you check the dates, they all happened under Obama. The article was quite open about the fact that they only cared about this now as a way of attacking Trump, and it worked. Similarly, that big scandal about the government losing immigrant kids or placing them with traffickers? You guessed it, Obama-era stuff that was turned into an anti-Trump scandal. That heartwrenching photo of kids in cages which went viral until people realised it was from Obama's time in office? One local news outlet ran when it was actually news. One.

>Has this ever happened before?

Watergate investigation of President Nixon in 1973: https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/washington-post

The first example that comes to mind is the Pulitzer Prize-winning work by the Washington Post around Watergate. Granted, that was almost fifty years ago. See https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/washington-post

Watergate is the obvious example. But there haven't been many investigations of presidents – or at least investigations of presidents personally, which seems to be the scope you're asking about. The AP won the 1999 Feature Photography award for its work covering the Lewinsky affair and impeachment hearings [0]. I don't know if I would count Maureen Dowd's award in commentary [1] as specifically challenging the administration. And I think it's arguable that the Clintons' Whitewater controversy had the same amount of "matter" as what President Trump is currently under investigation for, considering Ken Starr's Whitewater probe recommended impeachment for things not directly related to Whitewater (I would agree that Bill Clinton, however, did not get the scrutiny he deserved for Paula Jones and others).

If you expand the scope of "investigation against a president" to include the actions of his administration, then you'll find more examples:

1987 National Reporting Award for the Miami Herald's reporting on Iran-Contra (Bob Woodward of the WaPo was also a finalist on the same topic in this category) [2]

2011 Editorial Writing to the WSJ for its editorials challenging Obamacare [3]

2014 Public Service Award to The Guardian and the WaPo for the Snowden revelations [4]

[0] https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/photo-staff-0

[1] https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/maureen-dowd

[2] https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/staff-21

[3] https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/joseph-rago

[4] https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/guardian-us

This is like going to a film festival to watch spiderman 2. I was hoping to pick up something for next read but I really don't want to read another trump stuff. All the trump/immigrant/women/muslim/minority news have cast a pall of anxiety and dread over my life.

was hoping to get some awarness about a new cause/topic but this just whats in news cycle everyday.

This is problematic.

Pulitzer is rewarding high-brow emotional appeal journalism. All disaster and irrelevant scandal. The journalism we need today is shining light on the ever-increasing complexities of the world and the effects, not the latest shock, awe, and smear.

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