Medar de la Cruz and Cristina Rivera Garza's prized works
Medar de la Cruz and Cristina Rivera Garza's prized works Photos taken from each honoree's IG accounts

The 2024 Pulitzer Prize, honoring the best in journalism from 2023, featured two Latinos in its long list of honorees: Mexican author Cristina Rivera Garza and Dominican-American illustrator Medar de la Cruz. All winners receive $15,000.

Other winners include The Associated Press for its coverage of global migration through Latin America to the US and The New York Times and Reuters, both of which won Pulitzers for their coverage of the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and its aftermath. The prestigious award in public service went to ProPublica for reporting that "pierced the thick wall of secrecy" around the US Supreme Court to show how billionaires gave gifts to justices.

River Garza was awarded the Memoir or Autobiography prize for her book Liliana's Invincible Summer: A Sister's Search for Justice. The committee praised the work for being "a genre-bending account of the author's 20-year-old sister, murdered by a former boyfriend, that mixes memoir, feminist investigative journalism and poetic biography stitched together with a determination born of loss." Garza's book is currently nominated for the National Book Awards under non-fiction.

De la Cruz won in the Illustrated Reporting and Commentary category for his work for The New Yorker set inside Rikers Island jail with a library worker as a subject. The committee highlighted De la Cruz's "visually-driven story" using bold black-and-white images "that humanize the prisoners and staff through their hunger for books."

Notable Latinos to win the Pulitzer Award in the past include Liz Balmaseda for her columns on the plight of Haitian and Cuban refugees in 1993 and Argentine-American journalist Sonia Nazario for a series of chronicles about the trips of a boy from Honduras to the United States in 2003. Latino reporters also won the award as part of teams that covered the Los Angeles riots for The LA Times in 1992 and the coverage of the Elián Gonzalez case for The Miami Herald in 2012.

The Fiction category has also had its share of Latino winners including Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz for his novel "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and Argentine-American Hernán Díaz who won a prize in Fiction just last year for his novel titled Trust.

The Pulitzers are administered by Columbia University and are awarded after careful deliberation by the 18-member Pulitzer Board composed of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts.

Columbia University has also been in the news as of late thanks to student demonstrations against the war in Gaza and the context was not lost among the committee. In a statement released last Thursday, they expressed:

As we gather to consider the nation's finest and most courageous journalism, the Pulitzer Prize Board would like to recognize the tireless efforts of student journalists across our nation's college campuses, who are covering protests and unrest in the face of great personal and academic risk. We would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary real-time reporting of student journalists at Columbia University, where the Pulitzer Prizes are housed, as the New York Police Department was called onto campus on Tuesday night. In the spirit of press freedom, these students worked to document a major national news event under difficult and dangerous circumstances and at risk of arrest.

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