Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Pulitzers announced; here are some with rural resonance

The 2020 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, and several in journalism have rural resonance.

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica won in the Public Service category for "Lawless," a yearlong investigation maonly by ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins into the sexual assault crisis in rural Alaska, and how lax public safety and law enforcement made it worse. It also won the small-market Frank A. Blethen Award for Local Accountability Reporting from the News Leaders Association.

Editor Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine Herald Press in Texas won for writing "editorials that exposed how pre-trial inmates died horrific deaths in a small Texas county jail—reflecting a rising trend across the state—and courageously took on the local sheriff and judicial establishment, which tried to cover up these needless tragedies," the judges said. Gerritt won two other national prizes for the editorials, as The Rural Blog reported yesterday.

The staff of The Washington Post won in Explanatory Reporting "for a groundbreaking series that showed with scientific clarity the dire effects of extreme temperatures on the planet," the judges said. The Post was a finalist in the Public Service journalism category for its reporting on the opioid epidemic.

Ida B. Wells, who died in 1931, received a special posthumous award recognizing her pioneering investigative journalism on lynchings, much of it in rural areas of the Deep South. The award comes with a bequest of at least $50,000 to support her mission; recipients will be announced at a later date.

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