Pulitzer Prize: Two Indian-origin journalists honoured for investigative reporting

New York - This is the 105th year of the Pulitzer Prizes awarded by a board at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York recognising the outstanding work.



By Web Report

Published: Sat 12 Jun 2021, 1:37 PM

Indian-origin journalist Megha Rajagopalan has won a Pulitzer Prize for innovative investigative reports harnessing satellite technology about China's camps for minority ethnicities.

The award in the international reporting category that she shared with two colleagues from an internet media, BuzzFeed News, was announced on Friday by the Pulitzer Board.

Another journalist of Indian-origin, Neil Bedi, won a Pulitzer in the local reporting category for investigative stories he wrote with an editor at the Tampa Bay Times exposing the misuse of authority by a law enforcement official in Florida to track children.

This is the 105th year of the Pulitzer Prizes awarded by a board at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York recognising the outstanding work.

In recognition of the proliferation of citizen journalism in the Internet age, teenaged non-journalist Darnella Frazier was awarded a Pulitzer Special Citation for her courage in filming the killing of George Floyd, the African-American who died in police custody in Minneapolis last year.

The video clip made on her smartphone went viral and set off prolonged nationwide protests against police brutality and led to measures in many states and cities to reform policing.

The sight of a policeman kneeling on the neck of dying Floyd as he repeated, "I can't breathe", appealed to America's conscience and led to a broader consideration of the problems faced by African-Americans.

The Pulitzer Board said that her video "spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice".

Rajagopalan and her colleagues used satellite imagery and 3D architectural simulations to buttress her interviews with two dozen former prisoners from the Chinese camps where Uighur and other minority ethnicites were interned.

According to the publication, she and her colleagues, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek, identified 260 camps after building a voluminous database.

Rajagopalan, who had previously reported from China but was barred from there for the story, travelled to neighbouring Kazhakstan to interview former camp inmates who had fled there, BuzzFeed said.

Bedi and Kathleen McGrory were given their awards for exposing "how a powerful and politically connected sheriff built a secretive intelligence operation that harassed residents and used grades and child welfare records to profile schoolchildren", the Pulitzer Board said.

Bedi, who has a degree in computer science, is now a Washington-based reporter for ProPublica.


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