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2019 Pulitzer Prizes Are Announced By Columbia University

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The most prestigious awards in American journalism were announced yesterday. And for some of the winners, the announcement was full of joy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: The prize is awarded to Matt Hamilton...

(CHEERING)

GREENE: That was the newsroom of the Los Angeles Times after they learned three of their reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In other newsrooms that were honored, the mood was somber.

BRITTANY WALLMAN: A lot of us burst right into tears. It was a bittersweet moment. A lot of us can't talk about it without getting emotional because we've been exposed to so much of the sadness.

INSKEEP: The sadness that Brittany Wallman and others covered at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. That paper received the award for public service for covering the Parkland school shooting. Wallman says that one of the victim's fathers texted her after the win.

WALLMAN: When you finish being happy today about your award, please get right back to this story, and don't stop.

GREENE: And the newsroom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was also melancholy. They won the award for breaking news coverage for the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in October. Keith Burris is executive editor of the paper.

KEITH BURRIS: The word everyone is using today is bittersweet. And I think that's an almost ridiculous understatement.

GREENE: He stressed that the paper's reporting on the shooting was a total team effort.

BURRIS: I don't think a single member of the news staff failed to make a contribution.

INSKEEP: Now, the local reporting award went to the staff at The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., which exposed the effects of a Jim Crow-era law. It allowed courts in the state to send defendants to jail without a unanimous verdict on guilt or innocence. Gordon Russell is the managing editor for investigations at The Advocate.

GORDON RUSSELL: I think the biggest achievement for us out of all this was getting the law changed. And not that we did that by ourselves, but I think that we played a role in that. And that was really what we set out to do, was to shine a light on this.

GREENE: And a special citation went to the staff of The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. In June of last year, a gunman killed five journalists there. Their colleagues still got the paper out the very next day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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