For the first time in years, the Washington Post came up empty on Pulitzer day this year. Though the Post was a finalist in two categories, it came away with no wins in the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes , announced today. That represents the only time in the tenure of now-departed editor Martin Baron that the paper didn’t score one of the coveted prizes. (Baron edited the paper throughout 2020, the year covered by today’s awards.)
Not that the judges gave any reason to think the Post had a shabby 2020: In an immensely busy news year, it was a finalist in two categories. Reporter Greg Jaffe’s stories about the pandemic’s impact on Florida’s tourist economy earned him a nod for Feature Writing, and editorial writer Lee Hockstader was a finalist in Editorial Writing for editorials calling the Park Police to account for the deadly shooting of Bijan Ghaisar.
Other Washington-based outlets had a good day, with awards going to journalists at the Atlantic and NPR. The Atlantic‘s science journalist Ed Yong snagged a win in the Explanatory Reporting category for his stories on Covid, tying with a team of reporters from Reuters. Over in the world of audio, NPR‘s Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, DC-based investigations editor Robert Little, and investigations producer Graham Smith won in the Audio Reporting category for their series on “no compromise” gun activists. (The NPR staff at large was also a finalist in the same category).
At least one person in the Post newsroom can claim responsibility for a win: New editor Sally Buzbee spent 2020 as the editor of the Associated Press, which won two awards, one for Feature Photography and another for Breaking News Photography. The news agency also garnered two finalist slots for Investigative Reporting, and another in Breaking News Photography.