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Capital Gazette

Newspaper wins Pulitzer Prize for coverage of mass shooting in its newsroom

Five Capital Gazette employees were killed after a gunman opened fire last June.

Pulitzer Prize Newspaper Shooting Ulysses Mu?oz Gazette staff react to yesterday's Pulitzer announcement Ulysses Mu?oz

THE CAPITAL GAZETTE newspaper in Maryland has been awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for coverage of last year’s mass shooting in its own newsroom.

Five Gazette employees were killed when a gunman opened fire on the newsroom in Annapolis in June last year. 

In awarding its special citation, the Pulitzer Prize Board said it was honouring the publication “for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief”. 

The Baltimore Sun – which owns the Capital Gazette – identified the suspected shooter shortly after as Jarrod Ramos, who had a long-running dispute with the newspaper over a 2011 story “that covered a criminal harassment case against him”.

The staff published a newspaper the day after the attack tweeting at the time: “Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

The special citation comes with a $100,000 (€85,000) bequest by the Pulitzer Board to be used to further the newspaper’s journalistic mission.

Reacting to the award, Gazette Editor Rick Hutzell said: “Clearly, there were a lot of mixed feelings. No one wants to win an award for something that kills five of your friends.”

John McNamara, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman and Rob Hiaasen were all killed in last year’s attack. 

News: Capital Gazette Newspapers Shooting SIPA USA / PA Images SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

‘Debunked claims’

Two other local newspapers won Pulitzers this year for coverage of mass shootings. 

The South Florida Sun Sentinel won the Pulitzer for public service for its coverage of failings by school and law enforcement officials before and after the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In the breaking news category, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was honored for its coverage of the October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in the city that left 11 people dead.

Pulitzer Prizes are awarded annually for achievement in journalism, literature and music. 

Meanwhile, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were awarded Pulitzers yesterday for their separate investigations of President Donald Trump. 

The Times won the prestigious journalism award for explanatory reporting for its probe of the Trump family’s finances that “debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges,” the Pulitzer Prize Board announced during a ceremony at New York’s Columbia University.

Coverage of Trump’s secret hush money payments to two women during his 2016 presidential campaign who claimed to have had affairs with him earned The Wall Street Journal a national reporting award. 

‘Feature writing’ 

Hannah Dreier of ProPublica won the prize for feature writing for a series of stories about immigrants from El Salvador living on New York’s Long Island caught up in a crackdown on MS-13 gang members, while The Associated Press won a Pulitzer for international reporting for its coverage of the war in Yemen.

Reuters was honored for international reporting for its coverage of atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Reuters also won in the breaking news photography category for pictures of migrants travelling to the United States from Central America.

The Overstory by Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury won the prize for drama.

The Pulitzer for history was awarded to David Blight for Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, while the biography prize went to Jeffrey Stewart for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke.

The poetry prize was won by Forrest Gander for Be With.

In general non-fiction, the prize went to Eliza Griswold for Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America with the music award going to Ellen Reid for her operatic work p r i s m.

Late soul singer Aretha Franklin was also honoured by the Pulitzer Board with a rare special citation. 

With reporting from © – AFP 2019

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