The Los Angeles Times on Monday won two Pulitzer Prizes, for art critic Christopher Knight’s watchdog coverage of plans for the new Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and reporter Molly O’Toole’s audio story about U.S. asylum officers’ discontent with President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. The Times was also a finalist in three other categories.
Christopher Knight, criticism winner
Knight wrote a series of critiques of LACMA as the county prepared to vote on releasing $117.5 million in taxpayer funds to help build a new museum building.
The Pulitzer board recognized Knight for “demonstrating extraordinary community service by a critic, applying his expertise and enterprise to critique a proposed overhaul of the L.A. County Museum of Art and its effect on the institution’s mission.”
More of Knight’s winning work:
The County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday to vote on moving forward with a planned redesign of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Without fanfare, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has taken a momentous step.
Molly O’Toole, audio winner
In collaboration with “This American Life” and Emily Green, a freelancer for Vice, O’Toole won the first ever Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting. She investigated one of the Trump administration’s most successful policies to restrict asylum — the so-called Remain in Mexico program. She found that asylum officers were in open revolt against policies they said were immoral and illegal.
The Pulitzer board described “The Out Crowd” as “revelatory, intimate journalism that illuminates the personal impact of the Trump administration’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.”
More of O’Toole’s immigration coverage:
The order restricts some new entrants but does not include a broad restriction on new green cards as Trump had indicated a day earlier.
With his poll numbers dropping, President Trump says he’ll restrict legal immigration to battle the economic fallout of coronavirus, but the connection remains unclear.
Times Staff, breaking news reporting finalist
The staff was a finalist for a breaking news Pulitzer for its coverage of the Conception boat fire that killed 34 people off of the coast of California on Labor Day.
The board cited “dynamic coverage that expertly blended multimedia components, frequent updates and rich narrative to report on a devastating California boat fire that killed 34 people.”
More from our Conception coverage:
The Conception, where 34 people were killed in California’s worst maritime fire in recent history, was a “compliant fire trap,” one expert said.
Investigators seek cause of deadly fire aboard California dive boat
Steve Lopez, commentary finalist
Lopez was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his columns chronicling Los Angeles’ homeless community.
The board praised Lopez for “purposeful columns about rising homelessness in Los Angeles, which amplified calls for government action to deal with a long-visible public crisis
More from Lopez on L.A.'s homeless community:
Coronavirus: “Is anybody around here sick?” Street doctor races to get ahead of outbreak
If the president is so interested in pitching in, why is he proposing budget cuts likely to make things worse?
Rosanna Xia, Swetha Kannan and Terry Castleman, explanatory reporting finalist
The board saluted the team for “a deeply researched examination of the difficult choices Californians must make as climate change erodes precious coastline.”
More from Xia on sea level rise:
As coastal cities in California fight to defend their homes and roads from sea level rise, the small city of Marina is taking a different path, banning seawalls and adopting a policy known as managed retreat.
In Foster City, where the ‘king tide’ over the weekend reached 9 feet, the answer is a taller levee, costing $90 million. The plan comes as legislators warn that California is running out of time to prepare for sea level rise.