The staff of the Star Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news Friday for its coverage of the police killing of George Floyd and the landscape-altering racial reckoning that fanned out across the world from Minneapolis in its aftermath.
The Pulitzer Board called the Star Tribune's coverage of Floyd's death under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin, a death captured on a cellphone by teenager Darnella Frazier, "urgent, authoritative and nuanced." The board also gave Frazier a special commendation.
The Star Tribune's Libor Jany first reported Floyd's killing at 3:30 a.m. on May 26, 2020, and his initial story was updated 115 times through that day. Over the following week, Star Tribune journalists provided nearly 24-hour-a-day coverage of the rage that consumed Minneapolis, in which rioters burned buildings including a police station.
A Hennepin County jury in April returned two murder convictions against Chauvin.
"Our staff poured its heart and soul into covering this story. It has been such a traumatic and tragic time for our community," Star Tribune Editor Rene Sanchez said in a statement after the announcement. "We felt that our journalism had to capture the full truth and depth of this pain and the many questions it renewed about Minnesota and the country."
The Pulitzer Prize is one of journalism's most prestigious honors. Friday's prize is the fifth for the Star Tribune.
The Associated Press and the New York Times each won two Pulitzer Prizes on Friday.
The feature photography prize went to AP's chief photographer in Spain, Emilio Morenatti, who captured haunting images of an older couple embracing through a plastic sheet, mortuary workers in hazmat gear removing bodies and of people enduring the crisis in isolation.
The breaking news photography prize was shared by 10 AP photographers for protest coverage. One widely reproduced photograph by Julio Cortez on the night of May 28 in riot-torn Minneapolis shows a lone, silhouetted protester running with an upside-down American flag past a burning liquor store.
The New York Times won the public service prize for pandemic coverage the judges said was "courageous, prescient and sweeping" and "filled the data vacuum" for the general public. Wesley Morris of the Times won for criticism touching on the intersection of race and culture. His 2020 work included a meditation on the important role played by Black Americans with camera phones in the civil rights movement.
The Boston Globe received the investigative reporting Pulitzer for a series demonstrating how poor government oversight imperils road safety. The series detailed how the United States lacks an effective national system to keep track of drivers who commit serious offenses in another state.
It also reported how the increasingly deadly trucking industry operates with minimal federal government oversight.
The prize for explanatory reporting was shared by two recipients, including Reuters. Ed Yong of the Atlantic won for a series of articles about the pandemic.
BuzzFeed News won its first Pulitzer, in the international reporting category, for its investigative series on the scale of China's internment of Uyghurs, a mostly Muslim minority.
Mark Schoofs, BuzzFeed News' editor-in-chief, said in a statement that the articles in the series "shine desperately needed light on one of the worst human rights abuses of our time."
News services contributed to this report.
James Walsh • 612-673-7428