Aretha Franklin makes history with posthumous Pulitzer Prize win

Richard Powers

Richard Powers

Special citations were awarded to soul legend Aretha Franklin for her contributions to music and to the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper of Annapolis, Maryland, which lost five employees in a June 2018 shooting.

"Aretha is blessed and highly favoured even in death".

Winners in the field of news reporting included the Wall Street Journal for its investigations of hush money payments orchestrated by the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with the Donald Trump before he was the U.S. president. The New York Times earned a prize in explanatory reporting for an 18-month investigation into the elaborate steps that Trump and his family went to in an effort to avoid paying taxes.

Pulitzers also went to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for investigations of President Trump.

And the South Florida Sun Sentinel won a Pulitzer for its reporting on the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.

The Pulitzer jury described the piece as a "bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront hard subject matter: The effects of sexual and emotional abuse".

In the wake of the stories, the university's president resigned, the Los Angeles Police Department launched an investigation and more than 650 women have sued USC, alleging the school failed to protect them from sexual abuse. The university recently agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit by paying $215 million to potentially thousands of female students and alumni examined by Tyndall, who has denied the allegations and has not been charged with any crime. "She's continued to receive multiple awards - she's received nearly every award imaginable and now to get the Pulitzer Prize, it's just awesome", Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece and the executor of her estate, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. Both journalists were jailed in Myanmar for their reporting.

Reuters also won for global reporting for work that cost two of its staffers their liberty: shedding light on a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims by security forces in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. The story cost two reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, their liberty.

Jackie Sibblies Drury's play Fairview, which deals with white people's obsession with African American stereotypes, won the Pulitzer for drama. The board called it a "hard-hitting drama" that brought "audiences into the actors' community to face deep-seated prejudices".

Blight was honored in the history category for his new biography on Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author, and public speaker.

Novelist Richard Powers won the Pulitzer for fiction for "The Overstory", a panoramic look at nine Americans whose lives become entwined due to their experiences with trees, and David W. Blight picked up the prize in history for his acclaimed biography "Frederick Douglas".

Ellen Reid, the Los Angeles composer whose debut opera centered on a young woman's agonizing struggle with the psychological effects of sexual assault, won the Pulitzer for music.

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