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Another first-time winner was The Atlantic, which was awarded the Pulitzer by Ed Yong in the Explanatory Reporting category for reporting on the pandemic. A second explanatory reporting award was given to five Reuters journalists for examining a Supreme Court protector that protects police officers from excessive use of force.
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In the Feature Articles category, the board recognized two authors: Mitchell S. Jackson, a freelancer who wrote a report for Runner’s World about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was murdered while jogging in a Georgia suburb has been ; and Nadja Drost, also a freelancer, who wrote for California Sunday Magazine about a group of migrants trying to cross the Darién Gap on the Colombia-Panama border while trying to get into the United States on foot. (California Sunday Magazine suspended publication in October after its sponsor Emerson Collective, a media organization founded by billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, cut ties with its parent company.)
For books in the general non-fiction category, winner David Zucchino went for “Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy,” an in-depth study of a coup against the multiracial government in the coastal city of North Carolina. Mr. Zucchino, a contributing writer for The Times, won a Pulitzer in 1989 for his coverage of South Africa.
Marcia Chatelain won the historic award for Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America for the relationship between McDonald’s and black communities. Louise Erdrich won in the fiction category for the novel “The Night Watchman”; Natalie Diaz in poetry, with “Postcolonial Love Poem”; and Les Payne and Tamara Payne in the biography for “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X”.
In addition to his civil service, Pulitzer on Friday won The Times for Criticism, an honor bestowed on Wesley Morris, a critic in general who writes on a wide range of subjects, often focusing on black artist contributions to American culture. His 2020 work included a meditation on the important role black Americans with camera phones play in the civil rights movement. It was the second Pulitzer for Mr. Morris to win the same category at the 2012 Boston Globe with his essays.
The Public Service Award recognized contributions from multiple departments of the Times, including national, academic, international, Washington, investigative, business, graphics, video, live briefings, and audio. In addition to citing news articles that recorded the deadly progression of the pandemic, the board cited the graphics department’s virus case tracker, a video that recorded 72 hours in a New York hospital, and an episode of The Daily podcast.
Among the cited coverage was an article by science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr., dated February 2, 2020, that set off an early alarm regarding the Covid-19 virus. Mr. McNeil, a Times veteran, left the paper earlier this year after being criticized for his racial slurs during a Times-sponsored student trip to Peru in 2019.
The Times celebrated its victory by gathering a group of staff in the newspaper’s newsroom that had been largely empty since last March when the vast majority of Times staff began working remotely. Dean Baquet, the editor-in-chief, noted that “literally hundreds of people were involved in this coverage.” “You have achieved something historical and great here,” he said in his remarks, “something that you will remember forever, I hope.”