L.A. Occasions wins Pulitzers for overlaying homelessness, Metropolis Council leak

The Los Angeles Occasions gained two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for protection of two of probably the most troubling issues going through Southern California — homelessness and racial division.

The newspaper’s employees gained the Pulitzer for breaking information for a collection of tales on a secret audio recording that uncovered Los Angeles Metropolis Council members scheming in a crass and racist bull session about political energy within the metropolis.

Christina Home gained the characteristic images award for her deeply empathetic photographs of a younger lady dwelling alongside the Hollywood Freeway whereas dealing with drug points and the start of a kid.

The Occasions has now gained seven breaking information Pulitzers, greater than another information group. This additionally marked the fifth 12 months in a row that the outlet gained at the very least one Pulitzer, thought of the highest honor in journalism.

The newspaper’s employees was a finalist within the native reporting class for its collection of tales on the wave of unlawful cultivation, corruption and employee exploitation that adopted the legalization of marijuana in California.

“These prizes mirror cautious, refined, nuanced reporting and images on advanced matters necessary to Angelenos: energy, illustration, race relations, homelessness,” Occasions Govt Editor Kevin Merida mentioned. “The awards are a testomony to the constant prime quality of L.A. Occasions journalism. I’m very happy with the winners and of all the employees.”

A narrative that will come to dominate L.A. and its leaders for months started on a Saturday afternoon in early October, when reporter Julia Wick obtained a tip from a supply: Members of the L.A. Metropolis Council and a labor chief had been recorded as they held a uncooked and ugly personal chat about how they might maintain on to energy within the metropolis.

The recording had been posted weeks earlier on Reddit after which taken down however obtained little consideration earlier than The Occasions obtained a duplicate of the audio and commenced the extreme and painstaking work of verifying and analyzing the contents, a activity headed by Wick, David Zahniser, Dakota Smith and Ben Oreskes.

Simply after 9 a.m. that Sunday, The Occasions posted a story detailing how Los Angeles Metropolis Council President Nury Martinez made merciless and racist remarks as she and fellow metropolis lawmakers Kevin de Leon and Gilbert Cedillo mentioned how they and different Latino politicians would solidify their positions.

Martinez targeted specific animus on then-Councilman Mike Bonin, who’s white, and Bonin’s younger son, who’s Black. At one level, Martinez referred to as Bonin a “little bitch” and referred to his son as a “changuito,” or “like a monkey.” She additionally mentioned Bonin’s son had misbehaved on a parade float and wanted a “beatdown.”

The revelation triggered a wave of indignation and requires Martinez and the opposite council members to resign. In lower than per week, the highly effective council president had been compelled to resign. Cedillo left the council on the finish of his time period, whereas calls for for De Leon’s resignation proceed to this present day.

Over the weeks that adopted, a lot of The Occasions’ employees would turn into engaged in parsing the recording and its contexts – ranging over points from redistricting to obscure political rivalries and the extra sweeping racial divisions that beset Los Angeles.

Because the journalists, led by Assistant Managing Editor Steve Clow, got here to know the story, The Occasions and its legal professional needed to stave off the specter of authorized motion by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the highly effective union group whose legal professionals claimed that the the recording was “unlawful” and mentioned the newspaper would topic itself to “potential legal responsibility.”

Among the many a number of follow-ups to the story was a deeply reported and annotated transcript of all the dialog, with Occasions beat reporters and columnists together with Gustavo Arellano, Erika D. Smith and Michael Hiltzik serving to make clear the context and hidden intrigues inside the personal dialog.

Home’s work grew out of her collaboration with video journalist Claire Hannah Collins and homelessness reporter Gale Holland. Collins had the preliminary thought to focus intently on the travails of unhoused ladies who reside with pregnancies, and typically births, whereas dwelling on the road.

The trio discovered 22-year-old Mckenzie Trahan, pregnant and dwelling in a tent, above the roar of the freeway. They got here to deeply know not solely Trahan however the two ladies – her mom and case supervisor – whose lives had been additionally blighted by homelessness.

Home captured probably the most intimate moments of the younger lady’s life, together with as she gave start to her daughter and later as she shared a shower along with her child.

The editors who nominated Home for the prize praised the particular bond she cast along with her topic, an intimacy on show within the pictures of Trahan. The tales appeared in a particular part of The Occasions final July, headlined “Hollywood’s Most interesting.”

A documentary Collins made as a part of the undertaking premiered on the Massive Sky Documentary Movie Competition and was named a finalist for characteristic in January 2023.

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