The 2022 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced May 9, offering a rich opportunity to explore exemplary pieces of journalism. The Washington Post won the public service category — widely considered the most prestigious award — for its coverage of the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. Ukrainian journalists were awarded a special citation “for their courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting during Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia.” The awards also shined a light on the importance of local news organizations and the role they play in holding the powerful to account, with the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Kansas City Star, Houston Chronicle and a collaboration between the Better Government Association and the Chicago Tribune among those included in this year’s winners.
Dig Deeper: Use this think sheet to further explore this year’s Pulitzer winners and consider why these works represent excellence in journalism.
Authorities are investigating connections between the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the “great replacement theory,” a racist, antisemitic ideology that festers in extremist echo chambers online and has seeped into mainstream political discourse. The shooting — which killed 10 people, most of them Black — was briefly livestreamed on Twitch before being taken down, but copies of the video continue to proliferate across social media.
Should journalists be able to express personal views about the issues they cover? That question is at the heart of a renewed debate following the recent Supreme Court leak involving Roe v. Wade. Some newsrooms advised journalists to refrain from expressing their personal opinions on abortion to avoid accusations or perceptions of bias, while Rolling Stone magazine’s top editor Noah Shachtman told staffers “you don’t have to stifle your beliefs,” and said in a May 11 tweet that he didn’t “understand the logic of telling your staff to stay quiet while their rights are being taken away.”
Discuss: Can journalists express personal opinions without damaging people’s trust in the fairness of their journalism? What steps do journalists and news organizations take to minimize bias in news coverage?
NO: It is not safe to use old or experimental recipes for infant baby formula, or diluted formula. YES: Unsafe and antiquated recipes for formula have gone viral across social media platforms during a national shortage of commercial baby formula. YES: According to experts who strongly advise against using D.I.Y. recipes, homemade formula typically contains inadequate essential nutrients and possibly dangerous bacteria and toxic levels of other substances like salt and water.
NewsLit takeaway: People often share misinformation with good intentions, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still harmful. Several homemade baby formula recipes circulated online in early May 2022, along with this widely shared photo. The user comments on these and other posts about the formula shortage recount personal anecdotes about having been raised on homemade formula, implying that the recipes are safe. But medical consensus on many health-related topics, including pregnancy and childbirth, have changed significantly since 1960 (the date on the recipe in the photo). For example, many doctors in the mid-1960s believed alcohol stopped premature labor and recommended women in preterm labor be given vodka and orange juice or alcohol through an IV. Remember: While it may be tempting to try health-related guidance you find on social media, especially in times of need, it’s always best to consult with your doctor.
NO: This photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, is not recent and was not taken as the Court is deliberating a case that could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling. YES: The photo was posted online as early as 2018.
NewsLit takeaway: Hyperpartisan advocacy groups operate to promote a specific political agenda and sometimes put ideology before accuracy. Political posts designed to elicit outrage — also known as “outrage bait” — can be extremely effective at driving social media engagement and a widening circle of online supporters. It’s always a good idea to stay skeptical about divisive social media posts that provoke a strong emotional reaction, particularly when they resonate strongly with your politics and come from a partisan organization. In this case, people who oppose the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade may be especially vulnerable to reacting to this false claim too quickly. Finally, the fact that this post uses inflammatory language in all caps and explicitly asks people to retweet (“RT IF YOU THINK THAT THEY ARE A DISGRACE!”) are both red flags and indications that the tweet should be approached with skepticism.
Though Facebook announced last year that it would remove ad-targeting options that make it easy to isolate audience segments by such factors as race, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs and health conditions, an investigation by The Markup found that many such categories are still available in its advertising marketplace.