Pulitzers honor coverage of 3 US mass shootings in 2018

Boston Globe photographer Craig F. Walker said he hoped his images would bring more attention to the struggles that families like Connor Biscan and his mother deal with.
Boston Globe photographer Craig F. Walker said he hoped his images would bring more attention to the struggles that families like Connor Biscan and his mother deal with. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)

NEW YORK — 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 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.

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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 US history. The man charged had a longstanding grudge against the paper.

The Pulitzers, US 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 United States.


The AP’s international reporting prize went to a team of journalists who documented atrocities and suffering in Yemen, illuminating the human toll of its 4-year-old civil war.

Images of the famine in Yemen also brought a feature photography award for The Washington Post.

Boston Globe photographer Craig F. Walker was a finalist in the feature photography category.

Walker’s pictures accompanied a story, “Raising Connor,” about Connor Biscan, whom reporter Liz Kowalczyk described as “a puzzle his family and caregivers have worked long and hard to solve, a boy who lives at the intersection of autism and mental illness.”

Walker, who has won the Pulitzer twice, got the news while he was out covering the scene at the Heartbreak Hill section of the Boston Marathon course.

“It’s an honor to be included,” he said by cellphone. “Ultimately, I hope it brings more attention to the struggles that families like Connor and Roberta [his mother] deal with,” he said.

The Pulitzer Prize for poetry was awarded to Forrest Gander, a professor of literary arts and comparative literature at Brown University.

He won for a collection called “Be With,” which the Pulitzer Board described as “a collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.”

The Washington Post’s book critic, Carlos Lozada, won the criticism prize for what the judges called ‘‘trenchant and searching’’ work.

Journalists have been contending with attacks on the media’s integrity from the president on down. Trump has branded coverage of his administration ‘‘fake news’’ and assailed the media as the ‘‘enemy of the people.’’

Monday’s wins by the Times and The Wall Street Journal and freelance cartoonist Darrin Bell may further anger the president. The Times won the explanatory reporting Pulitzer for laying out how a president who has portrayed himself as a largely self-made man has, in fact, received over $400 million in family money and helped his family avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Trump has called the Times expose a false ‘‘hit piece.’’

The Journal took the national reporting award for its investigations of payments orchestrated by the president’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to silence porn star Stormy Daniels and a Playboy centerfold who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. Trump has denied having affairs with either woman.

Bell, the editorial cartooning winner, called out ‘‘lies, hypocrisy and fraud in the political turmoil surrounding the Trump administration,’’ the Pulitzer judges said.

The Los Angeles Times took the investigative reporting prize for stories that revealed hundreds of sexual abuse accusations against a recently retired University of Southern California gynecologist, who has denied the allegations. The university recently agreed to a $215 million settlement with the alleged victims.

The local reporting prize went to The Advocate of Louisiana for work that led to a state constitutional amendment abolishing the it’s unusual practice of allowing nonunanimous jury verdicts in felony trials.

ProPublica won the feature reporting award for covering Salvadoran immigrants affected by a federal crackdown on the MS-13 gang.