Several nonprofit news organizations—including past winners and new entrants—are celebrating this week with the announcement of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists.
*For Explanatory Reporting, the prize went to ProPublica and the criminal-justice-focused Marshall Project—funded by numerous philanthropic organizations that include the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies—for a collaborative exposé of massive failures by law enforcement to properly investigate reports of rape.
*For Public Service, Inside Climate News—funded by numerous philanthropic organizations that include the Ford and Knight foundations—placed as a finalist for its investigation into Exxon’s campaign to promote misinformation about climate change.
*For Investigative Reporting, the Marshall Project and the New York Times placed as a finalist for its collaborative probe of violence by corrections officers against inmates.
These news outlets and the philanthropic foundations that fund them should feel proud of this moment—and momentum. After all, six years ago, in 2010, only one Pulitzer was awarded to a nonprofit: ProPublica. (Ten years ago, ProPublica didn’t even exist, and is now one of the most respected outlets in the country.) The Pulitzer announcements this week don’t just underscore how important it has been for nonprofit news operations to pick up the slack; they show that more and more people are paying attention to these efforts.
We recently wrote about the ever-growing importance of nonprofit news organizations in a landscape full of commercial media. To be fair, for-profit media continue to produce excellent journalism. But increasingly, they’re doing it with the help of these smaller nonprofits. And we expect that more of them will be producing the kind of accountability journalism that’s worthy of a Pulitzer—and our respect.
Congratulations to all the winners—and to the foundations that helped make these important, powerful stories happen.