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Pulitzer Prize winners include Sun Sentinel’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting coverage and Capital Gazette’s newsroom shooting stories


The Pulitzer Prize Public Service Medal (AP)

This year’s Pulitzer Prizes included honors for outlets covering several horrific mass shootings.

The top honor in the prestigious annual journalism competition, awarded for public service, went to the South Florida Sun Sentinel for “exposing failings by school and law enforcement officials before and after the deadly shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School."

The newspaper’s coverage of the deadly shooting that took place on Valentine’s Day of last year included pieces like the editorial titled “Privacy law jeopardizes student safety and facilitates school cover-ups,” to stories like “What’s being done to stop another school shooting” and “Parkland shooter: Seven key facts hidden in the school district’s report.”

A total of 17 people were killed — 14 students and three staffers — and 17 more were wounded.

The journalists, staff and editorial board of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., received a special citation for its coverage of another horrific shooting, the June 28, 2018, attack in its own offices that killed five and injured two more.

Surviving staffers, who worked through the mayhem to put out a newspaper for the next day, were honored “for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history in their newsroom ... and for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief.”

The citation for the Capital Gazette was accompanied by $100,000 from the Pulitzer Board to further the newspaper’s journalistic mission. Both the Sun Sentinel and the Capital Gazette are owned by Tribune Publishing, which also owns the Daily News.

“As we join together to celebrate these great works, I ask that we pause and consider the remarkable sacrifice and dedication that our journalists poured into their award-winning work,” Tim Knight, CEO of Tribune Publishing, said in a statement Monday. "We remember the 17 slain students and staff from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Sun Sentinel’s coverage on that day of tragedy and on so many days since was an example not only of first-rate journalism ... but also a tribute to the students and their devastated families.

“Also on our minds today — as they are every day — are our lost colleagues from the Capital Gazette: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters,” Knight added. “We consider the Pulitzer recognition today another way to honor their memory, another way to inspire us to serve our communities.”

Meanwhile, Aretha Franklin, the singer and songwriter who died last summer at age 76, was honored for her “indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.” Her hits include songs like “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and “Respect."