The woman who filmed the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, Darnella Frazier, has got a special citation by the Pulitzer Prizes Board. Frazier recorded the video of the police brutality that killed Floyd, and the video galvanized a massive protest that shook the entire world and led to many police reforms.
The Pulitzer Prizes is awarded to journalists in the print, electronic, and online news media whose works transformed the industry and impacted society in a great way. Darnella Frazier is not a journalist, but her video spurred a lot of media activities and tasked journalists with new angles to report a news story.
The co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Aminda Marques Gonzalez, said the board considered honoring Frazier for the courage she displayed in recording the George Floyd murder and how the video footage helped law enforcement and the legal system to look more inward.
Gonzalez said Frazier was esteemed “for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”
Although 2020 was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the incident of Floyd’s death sparked a global outrage that put media newsrooms on the edge. The incident redefined how news organizations operated and the legal implications of racial injustice. The US presidential election also occupied a large space in how the year went.
Funny enough, this year’s Pulitzer Prizes awards went largely to journalists who excelled in the three major identified areas of COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and presidential election. These three areas redefined journalism in the United States in 2020 and most of this year’s journalism prizes went to the areas.
“The magnitude of these stories and the pace at which they unfolded pushed many in the news business to the limits of endurance,” Marqués González said. “Much of the great work this year came against the backdrop of unfathomable loss as our colleagues and fellow citizens mourn the deaths of more than 600,000 people from COVID.”
The Pulitzer Prizes awards are organized by Columbia University and awarded to journalists for their outstanding works in newspapers, magazines, and online news media. This year’s awards were planned for April 19 but postponed to June to enable board members to judge entries closely in person.