There were a few surprises in the Pulitzer announcements, but the fact that the wildly popular Broadway musical “Hamilton,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama wasn’t one of them. The musical, which looks at the often flawed life of one of the founding fathers, is one of only four other musicals to win the award for Drama in the past 50 years.
The 100th anniversary of the awards for excellence in journalism, drama, fiction and letters saw large media institutions and one smaller one, take home awards in 14 categories.
Pulitzer administrator Mike Pride made the announcements Monday afternoon.
Under journalism, The Associated Press won the coveted Public Service Award for its series called, “Seafood from Slaves.” The story, which examined the use of slave labor in Thai fishing operations that supply the U.S. seafood market, led to freedom for more than 2,000 people who had been forced to work under brutal conditions.
According to an AP story, AP journalists Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan chronicled how men from Myanmar and other countries were being imprisoned, sometimes in cages, in an island village in Indonesia and forced to work on fishing vessels. Numerous men reported maimings and deaths on their boats.
The 18-month project involved tracking slave-caught seafood to processing plants that supply supermarkets, restaurants and pet stores in the U.S. Subsequent AP reports detailed the use of slave labor in processing shrimp.
The Tampa Bay Times won two Pulitzer’s Monday. One in Local Reporting for the series “Failure Factories”, which compared the quality of public education in Florida’s Pinellas County after the county ended school integration.
The paper has won awards for that series from the Nieman Foundation and was listed as a finalist in the Ring and Goldsmith competitions, and won a George Polk Award and an American Society of Newspaper Editor’s award for the series.
The paper’s second Pulitzer came in the investigation category for a collaboration with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in a look at escalating violence and neglect in Florida mental hospitals.
The breaking news prize went to the Los Angeles Times for its coverage of the terror attack in San Bernardino where a man and his wife shot and killed 14 of the man’s co-workers at a facility in San Bernardino, Calif.
The award for explanatory journalism when to T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project for a story of a young woman who reported being raped at knifepoint in her apartment, only to be disbelieved by police. According to The Marshall Project, “the young woman was later prosecuted for lying to the authorities. … Years later, two female detectives in Colorado arrested a man suspected of raping a series of women and discovered that the original victim was telling the truth all along.”
For editorial writing, the Pulitzer judges went, as they sometimes do, with the work of a smaller newspaper. In this case, John Hackworth of Sun Newspapers in Charlotte Harbor, Fla., won the prize.
The national reporting award went to The Washington Post for its efforts to document the cases of on-duty police officers shooting and killing 990 people nationwide - and that unarmed black men were seven times more likely to die at the hands of police officers than unarmed whites. More than 50 of the officers had killed someone before. The work began after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo, and protesters there complained the incidents of black men being shot and killed by police officers happened more often than anyone knew.
In the Letters and Drama awards, “Hamilton,” to no one’s surprise, won for Drama.
For books, T.J. Stiles’ Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, won in the history category. Publisher’s Weekly wrote of “Custer’s Trials,” “Spectacular… a satisfying portrait of a complex, controversial military man… Confidently presenting Custer in all his contradictions, Stiles examines the times to make sense of the man—and uses the man to shed light on the times.”
Below is the list of winners from Monday’s Pulitzer announcement and links to their work.
Public Service: The Associated Press
Breaking News Reporting: The Los Angeles Times
Explanatory Reporting: T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of the Marshall Project
Local Reporting: Tampa Bay Times
National Reporting: The Washington Post
International Reporting: Alissa J. Rubin of The New York Times
Feature Writing: Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker
Commentary: Farah Stockman of the Boston Globe
Criticism: Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker
Editorial Writing: John Hackworth of Sun Newspapers, Charlotte Harbor, Florida
Editorial Cartooning: Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee
Breaking News Photography: Mauricio Lima, Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks, Daniel Etter of the New York Times; and the photography staff of Thomson Reuters
Feature Photography: Jessica Rinaldi of the Boston Globe
Letters and Drama
Fiction: Viet Thanh Nguyen for The Sympathizer
Drama: Lin-Manuel Miranda for Hamilton
History: T.J. Stiles for Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America
Biography or Autobiography: William Finnegan for Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Poetry: Peter Balakian for Ozone Journal
General Non-Fiction: Joby Warrick for Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS
Music: Henry Threadgill for In for a Penny, In for a Pound
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