Sunday 4 December 2016

New York Times wins prestigious Pulitzer prizes for West Africa Ebola coverage

Ellen Wulfhorst

Published 20/04/2015 | 23:16

Ebola triggered a global health panic
Ebola triggered a global health panic

The New York Times won two prestigious Pulitzer prizes on Monday for coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, described by the Pulitzer board as courageous and vivid journalism that engaged the public and held authorities accountable.

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The Pulitzer for Public Service, announced at Columbia University, went to Charleston, South Carolina's Post and Courier for its series on domestic violence.

The Pulitzers honor extraordinary work in U.S. journalism, literature, drama and other areas and bring welcome attention and recognition to newspapers and websites.

"Till Death Do Us Part" by the Post and Courier probed why South Carolina is among the deadliest states in the country for women. Doug Pardue, one of a four-person team that produced the series, said it pushed the state legislature to pursue greater protection for abused women.

"I'm glad to see that journalism is awarded for this type of reporting," said Pardue. "It's a story that touches so many people."

For its Ebola coverage, The New York Times staff won the prize for international reporting and freelancer Daniel Berehulak won for feature photography.

Health workers are handed personal protective gear by a team leader, right, before collecting the bodies of the deceased from streets in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers are handed personal protective gear by a team leader, right, before collecting the bodies of the deceased from streets in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A health worker, left, helps a colleague with his personal protection equipment before dealing with individuals suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A health worker washes with disinfectant after dealing with people suspected of having the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A crowd gathers near a checkpoint, which controls the movement of people in and out of Ebola-hit regions, at the entrance to Bomi county in northwestern Liberia in this August 11, 2014 file photo. HEALTH-EBOLA/LIBERIA/ REUTERS/Sabrina Karim/Files
Soldiers from the Liberian army monitor a border checkpoint as part of Operation White Shield to control the Ebola outbreak, at an entrance to Bomi County in northwestern Liberia in this August 11, 2014 file photo. HEALTH-EBOLA/LIBERIA/ REUTERS/Sabrina Karim/Files
Liberian soldiers check people travelling in Bomi County in this August 11, 2014 file photo. HEALTH-EBOLA/LIBERIA/ REUTERS/Stringer/Files
People pass by Ebola virus health warning signs, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers wearing protective clothing carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing disinfect themselves after an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms was found at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare themselves before to carrying an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wear protective clothing before carrying an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare before carrying an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
A boy stands near posters displaying a government message against Ebola at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014. REUTERS/2Tango
Health inspection officers help a mock patient (C) get into a negative pressure isolation stretcher, during a drill to demonstrate the procedures of transporting an Ebola victim, at Shenzhen Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, in Shenzhen, Guangdong province August 14, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
Health inspection officers help a mock patient (C) get into a negative pressure isolation stretcher, during a drill to demonstrate the procedures of transporting an Ebola victim, at Shenzhen Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, in Shenzhen, Guangdong province August 14, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch won for photographic coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri, riots. Editor Gilbert Bailon said the staff had suffered emotionally and physically while covering the violence that followed the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer.

"It's a very personal story. Some staff faced tear gas directly; some were deeply involved in efforts to get the community to heal," he said.

The Seattle Times staff won for coverage of a deadly landslide, and Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig won for coverage of security lapses at the Secret Service.

The Wall Street Journal won a prize in investigative reporting for "Medicare Unmasked," the first reporting Pulitzer for the newspaper since 2007, when it was purchased by News Corp.

Guéckédou is a city of 350,000 people in the heart of the Guinea Forest Region, near the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone. This was the first trading post in West Africa. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos.
Guéckédou is a city of 350,000 people in the heart of the Guinea Forest Region, near the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone. This was the first trading post in West Africa. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos.
The trip from Conakry to Guékédou normally takes two days by car. During the Ebola emergency, flights are organized once or twice per week. In less than two hours, the teams land in Kissidougou, a wooded part of Guinea. From there, it takes only two hours to reach Guékédou by road.
The ebola treatment centre in Guéckédou was opened on the day the outbreak was declared by the Ministry of Health
In the treatment area. Despite their protective gear, the medical team tries to maintain human contact with patients by talking with them at length and getting close enough to be able to look into their eyes.
In the treatment area. Despite their protective gear, the medical team tries to maintain human contact with patients by talking with them a great deal and getting close enough to be able to look into their eyes.
A nurse prepares water and meals for Ebola patients.
In the treatment area. Despite their protective gear, the medical team tries to maintain human contact with patients by talking with them at length and getting close enough to be able to look into their eyes.
Jean Guy, a cartographer, lays out a map of Guekedou showing the various areas affected by the Ebola epidemic.
Naiara, a nurse, in the undressing area.
Treatment area in Gueckedou. After being in the the isolation zone, clothing and boots are disinfected with chlorine.
A lab. assistant leaves the room with blood samples from suspected cases. The laboratory will determine within hours whether or not the samples contain the Ebola virus.
Health promoter Sarah (left) speaks with psychologist Angeline about the strategy for responding to rumours regarding Ebola haemorrhagic fever. Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos
In a storehouse in Guéckédou teams prepare solidarity kits for the families of people who are ill with or died from Ebola. Mattresses, sheets, towels, mosquito nets and soap products are offered to the community to replace what has been destroyed or burned in the patient's room to avoid contamination of the family.
Following a phone call, an MSF team goes to the home of Finda Marie Kamano, age 33. She reported extreme weakness, vomiting, and dysentery. These symptoms, along with fever and nosebleeds, are typical of those caused by the Ebola virus. An MSF technician uses bleach to disinfect whatever may be contaminated by the virus.
Mattresses are distributed to families of those who sick or deceased. On this square in the Touloubengo neighbourhood, mattresses and kits are given to the five families whose homes had been disinfected several days earlier, following the death of a family member. The family thanks MSF for this gesture but in other villages, tensions persist. MSFs quick response to this Ebola outbreak sees the arrival of their vehicles in the villages coinciding with the outbreak of this vicious fever. Some believe that MSF probably brought the disease with them.
Gueckedou treatment centre. Each time a patient is discharged, staff and patients are extremely happy. Sia Bintou spent more than 10 days in the treatment centre. The teams often thought that she wouldnt make it, but Bintou ended up beating the disease. While there is no specific treatment for Ebola, staff attempt to strengthen the patients body by treating the symptoms.
Guekedou treatment centre. Sia Bintou Kamano is an Ebola patient. Through the airlock between the isolation ward and the rest of the structure set up by MSF, a doctor and a nurse inform her that her lab results have been negative twice in a row. She can now return home.
As with Sia Bintou, every Ebola survivor represents a victory over the disease. Everyone wants to take a picture with her. Patients cured of Ebola are no longer contagious and, what is even better, they are the only ones immunized against the disease.
Gueckedou treatment centre. Each time a patient is discharged, staff and patients are extremely happy. Sia Bintou spent more than 10 days in the treatment centre. The teams often thought that she wouldnt make it, but Bintou ended up beating the disease. She now has immunity against the virus and is no longer contagious, except through breastfeeding. Health staff explain to her how to use the powdered milk for her 2-year-old child.
Following a phone call, an MSF team goes to the home of Finda Marie Kamano, age 33. She reported extreme weakness, vomiting, and dysentery. These symptoms, along with fever and nosebleeds, are typical of those caused by the Ebola virus. With her eyes glazed over Finda Marie shows obvious signs of fatigue. The MSF team decides to take her to the treatment centre and isolate her from the rest of her family and test her for Ebola.
Following a phone call, an MSF team goes to the home of Finda Marie Kamano, age 33. She reported extreme weakness, vomiting, and dysentery. These symptoms, along with fever and nosebleeds, are typical of those caused by the Ebola virus. An MSF doctor takes her temperature. At 36.6C she has no fever. Although the Ebola virus often causes a fever, the fact that she does not have one is not a decisive factor in determining whether or not a patient is infected.
Two days after testing positive for Ebola, Finda Marie Kamano dies. Fatou, her older sister is overwhelmed. She was the one who had called MSF to come and get Finda. Some members of the community accuse her of causing her sisters death. They say that if she had stayed home, Finda would still be alive. There is a serious misconception the work MSF is doing; people see their family members go into the isolation ward and then come out no longer alive. Numerous false rumors circulate within the communities. People even talk about organ trafficking.
Two days after testing positive for Ebola, Finda Marie Kamano dies. The sanitary team dresses the deceased to present her to her family to show them that she is indeed the one in the sealed body bag.
Two days after testing positive for Ebola, Finda Marie Kamano, age 33, dies. The burial takes place near her house. Traditional funerals are one of the causes of the propagation of the Ebola virus. Finda had previously prepared the body of a victim, and that was most likely how she contracted the disease. One of her sisters, in the centre of the picture, is pregnant. Family and community members grieve.

New York Times reporter Eric Lipton won for investigative reporting on how lobbyists can sway congressional leaders and state attorneys general.

The Pulitzer for explanatory reporting went to Zachary Mider of Bloomberg News for showing how U.S. corporations dodge taxes. It is the first Pulitzer for the New York-based news agency.

Joan Biskupic, Janet Roberts and John Shiffman of Reuters were explanatory reporting finalists for their use of data analysis to illustrate the extraordinary access of an elite group of lawyers to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ned Parker and a Reuters team of reporters were finalists in international reporting for their work on the disintegration of Iraq and rise of ISIS.

The local reporting prize went to Rob Kuznia, Rebecca Kimitch and Frank Suraci of the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California, for their look at corruption in a small, cash-strapped school district.

The feature writing prize went to Diana Marcum of the Los Angeles Times for drought coverage.

The commentary prize went to Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times won for criticism and the editorial writing prize went to Kathleen Kingsbury of The Boston Globe.

The editorial cartooning prize went to Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News.

The fiction award went to Anthony Doerr for "All the Light We Cannot See," published by Scribner, and the drama prize went to Stephen Adly Guirgis for "Between Riverside and Crazy."

The history prize went to Elizabeth A. Fenn for "Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People," published by Hill and Wang, and David I. Kertzer won the prize for biography for "The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe," published by Random House.

Gregory Pardio won the prize for poetry for "Digest," Elizabeth Kolbert won in general nonfiction for "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" and the music prize went to Julia Wolfe for "Anthracite Fields."

Reuters

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