The Pulitzer Medals (Columbia University)

April 15, 2019 – The winners of the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes were announced at Columbia University in New York City on Monday. Pulitzers are regarded as the highest honor a journalist can receive.

Poynter President Neil Brown is a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board. Brown declined to discuss last week’s board deliberations, but offered:

“What comes through in this year’s prizes, including the work of the finalists, is tenacious accountability journalism,” Brown said. “Journalists helped change bad laws, made local leaders more accountable to keep our kids safe, and put eyes on horrific abuse and injustice in places far and near. It’s all the more inspiring because it comes as journalists are under direct threat and news companies must work harder than ever to find the financial means needed to keep this vital work coming.”

The awards are:

Public Service

Awarded to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for exposing the failures of school and law enforcement officials before and during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida


Breaking News Reporting

Awarded to the staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for its compassionate coverage of the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue


  • The staff of the Chico Enterprise-Record (in collaboration with the Bay Area News Group) for coverage of California’s Camp Fire, a massive California wildfire that destroyed more than 18,000 buildings and killed 86 people
  • The staff of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for its multiplatform coverage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Investigative Reporting

Awarded to Harriet RyanMatt Hamilton and Paul Pringle at the Los Angeles Times for reporting on a University of Southern California gynecologist who was accused of violating young women for nearly 30 years


Explanatory Reporting

Awarded to David BarstowSusanne Craig and Russ Buettner of The New York Times for an 18-month investigation of President Donald Trump’s finances that exposed the president’s persistent tax dodging and contradicted his claims of self-made wealth


Local Reporting

Awarded to staff of The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for coverage of the state’s discriminatory conviction system that allowed courts to jail defendants without a jury’s consensus about guilt


National Reporting

Awarded to the staff of The Wall Street Journal for uncovering President Donald Trump’s secret payoffs, during his campaign, to women who claimed to have had affairs with him


  • The staff of the Associated Press for coverage of the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the U.S./Mexico border and exposing a government overwhelmed by caring for and tracking thousands of immigrant children
  • The staff of The New York Times (and Carole Cadwalladr of The Guardian and The Observer) for reporting on how Facebook and other tech companies enabled the spread of misinformation, failed consumer privacy and allowed Cambridge Analytica to steal 50 million Facebook users’ private information 

International Reporting

Two prizes were awarded in the International Reporting category this year.


Feature Writing

Awarded to Hannah Dreier of ProPublica for a series of narratives about Salvadorian immigrants living in Long Island, New York, who were involved in a botched federal crackdown on the MS-13 gang



Awarded to Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a series of columns about how poor Missourians are charged for time spent in jail or on probation and owe more money than their fines or court costs



Awarded to Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post for reviews and essays of a broad range of books about government and the American experience


  • Manohla Dargis of The New York Times for film criticism that examined the impact of movies inside and outside the theater
  • Jill Lepore of The New Yorker for explorations that combined nuance and rigor about varied subjects

Editorial Writing

Awarded to Brent Staples of The New York Times for charting racial fault lines in the United States at a polarizing moment in the country’s history


Editorial Cartoons

Awarded to freelancer Darrin Bell for cartoons that addressed lies, hypocrisy and turmoil around the Trump administration


Breaking News Photography

Awarded to the photography staff of Reuters for a visual narrative about the urgency and desperation of migrants as they traveled to the United States from Central and South America


Feature Photography

Awarded to Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post for photo storytelling of the famine during the shattering war in Yemen


Special Citations

This year, the Pulitzer Prize Board also offered two special citations.

The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, will receive a special citation for its heroic ability to continue to publish after a shooter entered its newsroom and killed five newsroom staffers. The Pulitzer Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the Gazette to expand its journalism.

The board also honored the career and work of singer, songwriter, pianist and civil rights activist Aretha Franklin, who died Aug. 16. Artists such as Bob Dylan and Hank Williams have been honored with similar awards in the past.