Our congratulations go to the Anchorage Daily News, which has earned the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in collaboration with ProPublica.
The award honors the Anchorage Daily News’ series “Lawless” that focused on issues involving the criminal-justice system in Alaska.
The series’ findings highlighted that one in three rural communities in the state had no local law enforcement, and that some villages had hired individuals who had been convicted of felonies and other offenses to be law enforcement officers. It also described problems with the village public safety officer program, and how the Alaska State Troopers are deployed mostly to areas on the road system.
Because of the reporting, a broad swath of Alaskans could become aware of — and begin to seek solutions to — important issues that likely would not have reached the public’s attention. Reporting like this takes resources and dedication. It’s to Alaska’s benefit that the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica committed to seeing the project through.
The Pulitzer Prize for “Lawless” was announced on Monday, the day after World Press Freedom Day.
It’s an appropriate sequence of events.
Without freedom of the press, uncomfortable truths can stay hidden away more easily. The likelihood that the topics covered in the “Lawless” series would be broad public knowledge without the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica operating in a country that guarantees press freedom would be slight. Here in the United States, we view the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as fundamental to the success of the ongoing American experiment in democracy.
Congratulations again to the Anchorage Daily News. And thank you to those who value and defend the press freedoms that make such work possible.