America’s prestigious Pulitzer Prize awards were announced this week and, while many went to traditional media outlets, several of the awards were surprising.
The Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing was won by Art Cullen, of The Storm Lake Times. The twice-weekly newspaper is owned by Mr Cullen and his brother, with a syndication of 3000 copies in northwest Iowa. Many of staff on the paper are related.
The judging panel said Mr Cullen’s editorials were “fuelled by tenacious reporting, impressive expertise and engaging writing that successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa”. The series included 10 editorials between March and November 2016.
Digital company Buzzfeed also received its first nod from the Pulitzer board, with investigative reporter Chris Hamby nominated for international reporting. The New York Times staff won the category.
Mr Hamby travelled three continents and interviewed more than 200 people for a story documenting the dispute-settlement process used by multinational corporations to get around domestic regulations and environmental laws at the expense of poorer nations.
Buzzfeed News has been continually improving its investigative team in the past few years. Since hiring Pulitzer-winning journalist Mark Schoofs in 2013, Buzzfeed has expanded its investigative teams in the UK and US to more than 20.
The Huffington Post was the first all-digital company to win a Pulitzer in 2012.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, McClatchy and Miami Herald won the prize for Explanatory Reporting for the Panama papers. Research into the Panama papers was conducted by more than 300 journalists on six continents, including from Fairfax Media in Australia.
A full list of winners can be seen here.