On Monday the Pulitzer Prizes were awarded, with some pleasant surprised included. Amongst the winners include Kendrick Lamar for music and the two news organizations that covered two of the most ground-breaking, monumental stories of this year, which are the investigation of Russia’s interference in the election of President Trump and the sexual harassments of women in the workforce by men in power that has been previously silenced.
New York Times and the New Yorker magazine were two of the organizations recognized for their bold and comprehensive coverage and investigation into sexual harassment in professional and entertainment spheres, spearheading a conversation that has gone unnoticed for decades. They were rewarded with the prize for public service.
On the other hand, The Times and the Washington Post were awarded the national reporting prize for their commitment in investigating Trump’s relationships with Russia that has been unraveling since the 2016 election.
Kendrick Lamar also struck an element of surprise amongst the winners, as this marks the first time in the history of the Pulitzers to award this prize to a musician that is not in the classical or jazz realm. His winning the prize is especially important in the current political context.
The Prize is presented annually by Columbia University and the awards’ administrator remarked that “Winners uphold the highest purpose of a free and independent press – even in the most trying of times.” The two prizes that went to the coverage of these two issues revealed not only the press’ commitment to reveal the truth and shed light on the dark, but also a new force in reshaping conversation regarding gender and harassment in modern society.
Special attention and recognition was also directed towards the investigation of Harvey Weinstein in the Times by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, and in the New Yorker by Ronan Farrow. These collective efforts to debunk the gender hierarchy in workplace and Hollywood that has led to the harassment and abuse of many women have received much attention and caught much momentum because of the #MeToo movement. They have also driven the exposure of many others in power, including comedian Louis C.K. and chef Mario Batali, who both used the power of their career and authority to silence and abuse women.
Additionally, the award for investigative reporting went to The Post, which exposed Roy S. Moore, the Republican Senate candidate of Alabama, for conducting sexual harassment and misconducts towards women, and thus forbidden from running for higher office.
As Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times commented about the importance of this work, “By revealing secret settlements, persuading victims to speak and bringing powerful men to account, we spurred a worldwide reckoning about sexual abuse that only seems to be growing.”
The Pulitzer this year, in the word of the executive editor of The Post, paid tribute to journalists who had “a soul and a spine”, who “showed soul in their thorough dedication to our mission of getting at the truth” and “showed spine by staying focused on their work in the face of denunciation, deceit and threats by politicians and their allies.”