Today, The Indianapolis Star, part of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) won a 2021 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting alongside partners at The Marshall Project, AL.com, and the Invisible Institute for a year-long investigation that found police dogs attack people suspected of petty crimes, bystanders and even officers, leaving many with life-altering injuries.
The Louisville Courier Journal was a Pulitzer finalist in two categories, Breaking News and Public Service, for its coverage and relentless investigation into the March 13, 2020, fatal police shooting of unarmed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor and the 180 days of protest and unrest it spurred. The Courier Journal has written more than 950 Breonna Taylor stories since she died.
This marks five Pulitzer Prize winners and four finalists awarded to Gannett journalists in the last four years. With this, Gannett has been honored with 96 Pulitzer Prizes in total.
“The entire Gannett family recognizes the unrelenting work of our colleagues, and this distinction is incredibly well-deserved,” said Gannett Chief Executive Officer Mike Reed. “In all the communities we serve, the teams of talented, passionate journalists like those in Indianapolis and Louisville bring greater understanding to the stories of our time.”
“The once-in-a-generation storylines of 2020 served as a powerful underscore for the importance of local journalism, to help citizens through intense challenge, to seek truth and champion accountability from our leaders. Within days of publishing the IndyStar’s investigation on the gruesome injuries caused by police K-9 units, the Indianapolis police department announced changes on how it would use police dogs,” said Maribel Perez Wadsworth, President of the USA TODAY NETWORK and Publisher of USA TODAY. “Similarly, much of what we now know about the night Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police is because of the Louisville Courier Journal’s relentless reporting, determination and demands for transparency. The entire team and the USA TODAY Network are proud and humbled to have been honored for this work today.”
The Indianapolis Star – National Reporting Pulitzer Prize
Gruesome or shocking bites often receive local attention and lead to lawsuits, but no one was putting the pieces together on a national scale. This project identified and tracked individual cases, mostly based on court records, eventually building a nationwide database of more than 150 severe incidents. As a result, the series is the most comprehensive and sweeping look at police dog bites that has been published to date. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said it intends to change when and how it uses police dogs.
“Every journalist believes in our mission to serve our communities,” said Katrice Hardy, IndyStar executive editor and Midwest Regional Editor for USA Today Network. “This project is another example of how dogged reporting, compelling and insightful findings and a team of passionate reporters, photographers, visual journalists and editors are committed daily to uncovering and investigating issues that make our communities better.”
Louisville Courier Journal – Public Service Pulitzer Prize Finalist
The Courier Journal's coverage went to the heart of the issues confounding Louisville for decades: Over-policing, an unequal justice system and institutions that devalued Black lives. Taylor's death resonated with Black women who played a leading role in Louisville's protests and the Courier Journal was the first to explore their influence and bring their stories to the public.
Louisville Courier Journal – Breaking News Pulitzer Prize Finalist
The Courier Journal combined daily coverage from the streets with its breaking enterprise. Its journalists gained the trust of protest leaders through their dedicated coverage and worked to tell their stories and detail their plight. It found that no-knock warrants like the one used in the Taylor raid disproportionately target Black residents; weighed ‘stand your ground’ laws vs. no-knocks; and when a Black business owner was shot by authorities responding to a curfew violation, quickly pieced together just what happened on the tragic night.
“The Courier Journal staff celebrates being Pulitzer finalists in Public Service and Breaking News for our relentless pursuit of the truth around Breonna Taylor’s death,” said Courier Journal Executive Editor Mary Irby-Jones. “And we will continue to push for answers, reform and accountability following this horrible tragedy for Breonna's family and the community — one we must learn from and use as a catalyst to build a more just society.”
Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is a subscription-led and digitally focused media and marketing solutions company committed to empowering communities to thrive. With an unmatched reach at the national and local level, Gannett touches the lives of millions with our Pulitzer Prize-winning content, consumer experiences and benefits, and advertiser products and services. Our current portfolio of media assets includes USA TODAY, local media organizations in 46 states in the U.S., and Newsquest, a wholly owned subsidiary operating in the United Kingdom with more than 120 local news media brands. Gannett also owns the digital marketing services companies ReachLocal, Inc., UpCurve, Inc., and WordStream, Inc., which are marketed under the LOCALiQ brand, and runs the largest media-owned events business in the U.S., USA TODAY NETWORK Ventures. To connect with us, visit www.gannett.com.
ABOUT USA TODAY NETWORK
USA TODAY NETWORK, part of Gannett Co, Inc. (NYSE: GCI), is the largest local-to-national media organization in the country, powered by our award-winning newsrooms and marketing solutions business. With deep roots in local communities spanning the U.S. with more than 250 local media brands, plus USA TODAY, we engage more than 145 million people every month through a diverse portfolio of multi-platform content offerings and experiences. For more information, visit www.gannett.com.