The South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette won Pulitzer Prizes on Monday and were recognized along with the Capital Gazette of Maryland for their coverage of three horrifying mass shootings in 2018 at a high school, a synagogue and a newsroom itself.
The Associated Press won in the international reporting category for documenting the humanitarian horrors of Yemen’s civil war, while The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were honored for delving into President Donald Trump’s finances and breaking open the hush-money scandals involving two women who said they had affairs with him.
The Florida paper received the Pulitzer in public service for its coverage of the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and for detailing the shortcomings in school discipline and security that contributed to the carnage.
The Post-Gazette received the prize in the breaking news category for its reporting on the synagogue rampage that left 11 people dead. The man awaiting trial in the attack railed against Jews before, during and after the massacre, authorities said.
After the Pulitzer announcement, the newsroom in Pittsburgh observed a moment of silence for the victims. At the Sun Sentinel, too, the staff took in the award in a sober spirit.
“We’re mindful of what it is that we won for,” Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson said. “There are still families grieving, so it’s not joy, it’s almost … I don’t know how to describe it. We’re emotional, as well.”
So, too, at the Capital Gazette, which was given a special citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its own newsroom. The Pulitzer board also gave the paper an extraordinary $100,000 grant to further its journalism.
“Clearly, there were a lot of mixed feelings,” said Rick Hutzell, editor of Capital Gazette Communications. “No one wants to win an award for something that kills five of your friends.”
The Annapolis-based newspaper published on schedule, with some help from The Baltimore Sun, the day after five staffers were shot and killed in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history. The man charged had a longstanding grudge against the paper.
The Pulitzers, U.S. journalism’s highest honor, reflected a year when journalism also came under attack in other ways.
Reuters won an international reporting award for work that cost two of its staffers their liberty: coverage of a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims by security forces in Myanmar.
Reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. Their supporters say the two were framed in retaliation for their reporting.
Reuters also won the breaking news photography award for images of Central and South American migrants heading to the U.S.