Arts & Entertainment

Pulitzer Prizes: LA Times wins for breaking news; Sacramento Bee for editorial cartoons

The year marks the 100th year of the Pulitzer Prizes, which are set to be announced Monday afternoon at Columbia University. You can watch the live stream starting at noon PT.
The year marks the 100th year of the Pulitzer Prizes, which are set to be announced Monday afternoon at Columbia University. You can watch the live stream starting at noon PT.
The Pulitzer Prizes (via YouTube)

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The Los Angeles Times won the Pulitzer Prize Monday for breaking news for its coverage of the deadly shooting rampage by husband-and-wife extremists at a government building in San Bernardino, and The Sacramento Bee won for its editorial cartoons. 

The Washington Post received the national reporting award for an examination of killings by police in the U.S. The Associated Press won the public service award for documenting the use of slave labor in Southeast Asia to supply seafood to American tables — an investigation that spurred the release of more than 2,000 captive workers.

The Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune received the investigative reporting prize for a project on mental hospitals, and the Tampa Bay Times also won in local reporting for studying the effects of ending school integration in Pinellas County, Florida.

The awards marked the centennial of the Pulitzers, American journalism's highest honors.

On Monday, The Sacramento Bee released a story praising the work of editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman, who pens editorial cartoons on thorny issues around politics, terrorism, gun violence and gay marriage. 

The paper wrote:

Ohman watched the announcement on an Internet live stream in “The Hive,” a third-floor conference room in The Bee where he was surrounded by colleagues. As the announcement was made, Ohman’s co-workers broke into sustained applause and gave him a standing ovation. Minutes later, standing at a lectern amid a champagne celebration, Ohman said he “could not be prouder to work for The Sacramento Bee and the McClatchy Co.”

Associated Press journalists Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan chronicled how men from Myanmar and other countries were being imprisoned, sometimes in cages, in an island village in Indonesia and forced to work on fishing vessels. Numerous men reported maimings and deaths on their boats.

The 18-month project involved tracking slave-caught seafood to processing plants that supply supermarkets, restaurants and pet stores in the U.S. Subsequent AP reports detailed the use of slave labor in processing shrimp.

"If Americans and Europeans are eating this fish, they should remember us," Hlaing Min, 30, a runaway slave from the Indonesian island, told The AP. "There must be a mountain of bones under the sea."

The stories, photos and videos led to freedom for thousands of fishermen and other laborers, numerous arrests, seizures of millions of dollars in goods and crackdowns on Thai shrimp peeling plants.

The Post, meanwhile, explored an issue that has prompted protests and debate around the U.S. in recent years. The newspaper found that in 2015, on-duty police officers shot and killed 990 people nationwide — and that unarmed black men were seven times more likely to die at the hands of police officers than unarmed whites. More than 50 of the officers had killed someone before.

Established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the prizes were first given out in 1917. Public service award winners receive a gold medal; the other awards carry a prize of $10,000 each.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Hamilton' wins Pulitzer for drama 

"Hamilton," the hip-hop stage biography of Alexander Hamilton, won the prize for drama, honoring creator Lin-Manuel Miranda for a dazzling musical has captured popular consciousness like few Broadway shows.

The Columbia University's prize board on Monday cited "Hamilton" as a landmark American musical about the gifted and self-destructive founding father whose story becomes both contemporary and irresistible." Other finalists were "Gloria," by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and "The Humans," by Stephen Karam.

"I feel really humbled and really overwhelmed," Miranda told The Associated Press. "Columbia is Hamilton's alma mater so I think that gave me a home-court advantage. But it's extraordinary to be recognized in this way."

"Hamilton," about the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, becomes the ninth musical to win the drama award, joining such shows as "South Pacific," ''Sunday in the Park with George" and "Rent." The last musical to nab the award was "Next to Normal" in 2010.

It tells the story of how an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean rose to the highest ranks of American society, as told by a young African-American and Latino cast. Miranda leaned on Ron Chernow's biography of the Founding Father, but told the tale in common language and verse, transforming Hamilton into "the $10 Founding Father without a father."

Miranda, 36, who wrote the music and story, already has a Tony for creating the Broadway musical "In the Heights," a show which was nominated for a Pulitzer in 2009 and this month won three Olivier Awards in London. He also has an Emmy for writing the opening number for the 2013 Tony Awards.

In the past year, Miranda, whose family came from Puerto Rico to New York, has won a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation, as well as the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, which came with $100,000.

The drama award was widely expected to go to Miranda this year. The album for "Hamilton" won a Grammy Award and became the highest-debuting cast recording on the Billboard Top 200 in over 50 years. The show is a leading favorite in this summer's Tony Awards. The libretto, published last week, immediately became a top seller on Amazon.com

"I'm just trying to stay present and in the moment as possible because I'm fully aware that this speeds by in the highlight reel. I'm living in the highlight reel section of my life," Miranda said. "I want to slow the montage down."

"Hamilton" was a sold-out sensation this year when it debuted off-Broadway at New York's Public Theater and amassed a $60 million advance on Broadway. It has been cheered by politicians as diverse as Dick Cheney and President Barack Obama, and celebrities like British actress Helen Mirren, musician Questlove and many others.

The music is a mix of breezy pop, rap battles and slinky R&B. Lyrics are smart and playful, including Hamilton declaring: "In the face of ignorance and resistance/I wrote a financial system into existence."

The Pulitzer drama award, which includes a $10,000 prize, is "for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life," according to the guidelines.

Previous playwrights honored include August Wilson, Edward Albee, Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. Recent winners include Annie Baker's "The Flick," Ayad Akhtar's "Disgraced" and Stephen Adly Guirgis's "Between Riverside and Crazy."

See below for the full list of winners:

JOURNALISM

Breaking News Reporting

Los Angeles Times staff, for coverage of the San Bernardino massacre and the ensuing investigation.

Investigative Reporting

Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier, of the Tampa Bay Times, and Michael Braga, of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, for a project on escalating violence and neglect in Florida mental hospitals.

Explanatory Reporting

T. Christian Miller, of ProPublica, and Ken Armstrong, of The Marshall Project, for a story about police and prosecutors who didn’t believe an 18-year-old Washington woman when she reported that she was raped at knifepoint, and two Colorado detectives who arrested a serial rapist were able to connect the case back to the woman.

Local Reporting

Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner, of the Tampa Bay Times, for a story that studied the effects on education in Pinellas County, Florida, when schools in poor neighborhoods were essentially desegregated and neglected.

National Reporting

The Washington Post staff, for an examination of killings by police officers in the U.S., which found that 990 people had been shot and killed by on-duty police officers nationwide in 2015.

International Reporting

Alissa J. Rubin of The New York Times, for coverage of abuse facing the women of Afghanistan.

Feature Writing

Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker, for a story about rupturing of the Cascadia fault line.

Commentary

Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe, for columns on the legacy of busing in Boston and its lingering effect on education.

Criticism

Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker, for television reviews.

Editorial Writing

John Hackworth, of Sun Newspapers in Charlotte Harbor, Florida, for editorials on a deadly assault of an inmate by guards.

Editorial Cartooning

Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee.

Breaking News Photography

Mauricio Lima, Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks and Daniel Etter, of The New York Times, for photographs that captured the resolve of refugees, and Thomson Reuters staff, for photos of migrants covering hundreds of miles.

Feature Photography

Jessica Rinaldi, of The Boston Globe, for photos of a boy who strives to find his footing after being abused.

LETTERS, DRAMA AND MUSIC

Fiction

“The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Drama

“Hamilton,” by Lin-Manual Miranda

History

“Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America,” by T.J. Stiles

Biography or Autobiography

“Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” by William Finnegan

Poetry

“Ozone Journal,” by Peter Balakian

General Nonfiction

“Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” by Joby Warrick

Music

“In for a Penny, In for a Pound,” by Henry Threadgill

Associated Press reporters Jennifer Peltz and Mark Kennedy contributed to this story.

This story has been updated.