Pulitzers awarded for We­in­stein scan­dal

Pub­lic ser­vice prize goes to New York Times, New Yorker for sto­ries that sparked #MeToo

The Maui News - - COUNTY - By JEN­NIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK — The New York Times and The New Yorker won the Pulitzer Prize for pub­lic ser­vice Mon­day for break­ing the Har­vey We­in­stein scan­dal with re­port­ing that gal­va­nized the #MeToo move­ment and set off a world­wide reck­on­ing over sex­ual mis­con­duct in the work­place.

The Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post took the award in the na­tional re­port­ing cat­e­gory for their cov­er­age of Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and con­tacts be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign and Rus­sian of­fi­cials.

The Press Demo­crat of Santa Rosa, Calif., re­ceived the break­ing news re­port­ing award for cov­er­age of the wild­fires that swept through Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try last fall, killing 44 peo­ple and de­stroy­ing thou­sands of homes.

The Wash­ing­ton Post also won the in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing prize for re­veal­ing decades-old al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against Sen­ate can­di­date Roy Moore of Alabama. The Repub­li­can for­mer judge de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions, but they fig­ured heav­ily in Doug Jones’ vic­tory as the first Demo­crat elected to the Sen­ate from the state in decades.

One of the big­gest sur­prises of the day came in the non-jour­nal­ism cat­e­gories when rap star Ken­drick La­mar was awarded the Pulitzer for mu­sic, be­com­ing the first non­clas­si­cal or non­jazz artist to win the prize.

The Pulitzers, Amer­i­can jour­nal­ism’s most pres­ti­gious awards, re­flected a year of un­re­lent­ing news and un­prece­dented chal­lenges for U.S. me­dia, as Trump re­peat­edly branded re­port­ing “fake news” and called jour­nal­ists “the en­emy of the peo­ple.”

The New York Times won three Pulitzers and The Wash­ing­ton Post and Reuters re­ceived two apiece.

In an­nounc­ing the jour­nal­ism prizes, Pulitzer ad­min­is­tra­tor Dana Canedy said the win­ners “up­hold the high­est pur­pose of a free and in­de­pen­dent press, even in the most try­ing of times.”

“Their work is real news of the high­est or­der, ex­e­cuted nobly, as jour­nal­ism was al­ways in­tended, with­out fear or fa­vor,” she said.

A string of sto­ries in The Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post shined a light on Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and its pos­si­ble con­nec­tions to the Trump cam­paign and tran­si­tion — ties now under in­ves­ti­ga­tion by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller. The pres­i­dent has called the in­ves­ti­ga­tion a “witch hunt.”

The Pulitzer judges com­mended the two news­pa­pers for “deeply sourced, re­lent­lessly re­ported cov­er­age in the pub­lic in­ter­est.”

In sto­ries that ap­peared within days of each other in Oc­to­ber, The Times and The New Yorker re­ported that movie mogul We­in­stein faced al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and as­sault from a mul­ti­tude of women in Hol­ly­wood and had se­cretly paid set­tle­ments to keep the claims from be­com­ing pub­lic.

The Pulitzer judges said The Times’ re­porters, led by Jodi Kan­tor and Me­gan Twohey, and The New Yorker’s Ro­nan Far­row pro­duced “ex­plo­sive, im­pact­ful jour­nal­ism that ex­posed pow­er­ful and wealthy sex­ual preda­tors” and forced the is­sue of sex­ual abuse into the open.

“Peo­ple have been say­ing for decades that this kind of be­hav­ior is en­demic in so­ci­ety,” New Yorker edi­tor David Rem­nick said Mon­day, adding that he hoped the sto­ries would “help not only bring it to light but change the cul­ture.”

We­in­stein was ousted from the stu­dio he co-founded and now faces crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions in New York and Los An­ge­les. He has apol­o­gized for “the way I’ve be­haved with col­leagues in the past” but de­nied any non­con­sen­sual sex­ual con­tact.

The sto­ries’ im­pact spread be­yond We­in­stein to al­le­ga­tions against other pow­er­ful men in en­ter­tain­ment, pol­i­tics and other fields, top­pling such fig­ures as “To­day” show host Matt Lauer, ac­tor Kevin Spacey, news­man Char­lie Rose and Sen. Al Franken. Men and women, fa­mous or not, have spo­ken about their own ex­pe­ri­ences with sex­ual ha­rass­ment and as­sault in what has be­come known as the #MeToo move­ment.

“This mo­ment gets called a reck­on­ing, but we just started telling the truth about old abuses of power,” Far­row tweeted Mon­day.

We­in­stein spokes­woman Holly Baird de­clined to com­ment on the Pulitzer ex­cept to sug­gest sim­i­lar recog­ni­tion should be given to Tarana Burke, an ac­tivist who founded the #MeToo move­ment on Twit­ter about a decade ago to raise aware­ness of sex­ual vi­o­lence.

In other cat­e­gories, the Ari­zona Repub­lic and USA To­day Net­work won the ex­plana­tory re­port­ing prize for a multi-for­mat look at the chal­lenges and con­se­quences of build­ing the Mex­i­can bor­der wall that was a cen­ter­piece of Trump’s cam­paign. The project in­cluded footage from a he­li­copter flight along the en­tire 2,000-mile bor­der.

The lo­cal re­port­ing award went to The Cincin­nati En­quirer for what the judges called “a riv­et­ing and in­sight­ful” nar­ra­tive and video about the heroin epi­demic in the area. More than four dozen re­porters and pho­tog­ra­phers dove into the drug’s toll over one week.

Clare Bald­win, An­drew R.C. Mar­shall and Manuel Mogato of Reuters won the in­ter­na­tional re­port­ing award for their cov­er­age of Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s deadly crack­down on drugs, and the news agency’s pho­tog­ra­phers re­ceived the fea­ture pho­tog­ra­phy prize for their images of the plight of Ro­hingya refugees who have fled Myan­mar.

The break­ing news pho­tog­ra­phy award went to Ryan Kelly of The Daily Progress of Char­lottesville, Va., who cap­tured the mo­ment a car plowed into coun­ter­protesters demon­strat­ing against a white na­tion­al­ist rally in the col­lege town. The car killed coun­ter­demon­stra­tor Heather Heyer.

Kelly made the photo on his last day at the news­pa­per be­fore mov­ing on to a job at a brew­ery. In a text Mon­day, Kelly de­scribed the prize as an “in­cred­i­ble honor” but added: “Mostly I’m still heart­bro­ken for Heather Heyer’s fam­ily and ev­ery­body else who was af­fected by that tragic vi­o­lence.”

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, a free­lance writer for GQ mag­a­zine, took the fea­ture writ­ing award for a pro­file of Dy­lann Roof, the avowed white su­prem­a­cist con­victed of killing nine black church­go­ers in Charleston, S.C.

The com­men­tary award went to John Archibald of Alabama Me­dia Group in Birm­ing­ham, Ala., for pieces on pol­i­tics, women’s rights and other top­ics. Art critic Jerry Saltz of New York mag­a­zine won the crit­i­cism award .

Andie Do­minick of The Des Moines Reg­is­ter re­ceived the edi­to­rial writ­ing prize for pieces about the con­se­quences of pri­va­tiz­ing Iowa’s ad­min­is­tra­tion of Med­i­caid.

Free­lance writer Jake Halpern and free­lance car­toon­ist Michael Sloan were awarded the edi­to­rial cartooning prize for a graphic nar­ra­tive in The New York Times about a fam­ily of refugees fear­ing de­por­ta­tion.

The Pulitzers were an­nounced at Columbia Univer­sity, which ad­min­is­ters the prizes. This is the 102nd year of the con­test, es­tab­lished by news­pa­per pub­lisher Joseph Pulitzer.

Win­ners of the pub­lic ser­vice award re­ceive a gold medal; the other awards carry a prize of $15,000 each.

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