This year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers produced their work in the midst of danger

May 5, 2020

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Last year, Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox was getting ready to photograph a routine court case. Suddenly, he was standing only feet away from an active shooter. He did what came naturally: his job. He started taking photos. Fortunately, no one was injured.

While that is an extreme case of a day at work unexpectedly gone bad, photographers often are in the middle of danger. Just look at this year’s Pulitzer finalists in breaking news photography.

Fox was a finalist for his quick thinking and brave work while being only feet from someone who easily could have killed him. Also recognized as finalists were Dieu-Nalio Chery and Rebecca Blackwell of the Associated Press for their harrowing images conveying the horrors of lynching, murder and other abuses in Haiti.

The breaking news photography Pulitzer ultimately went to the staff of Reuters for “wide-ranging and illuminating photographs of Hong Kong as citizens protested infringement of their civil liberties and defended the region’s autonomy by the Chinese government.” Again, the images show just how dangerous this work can be.

And, in feature photography, the Associated Press’s Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin won for “striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout.”

In a statement, AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said, “This honor continues AP’s great tradition of award-winning photography. Thanks to the team inside Kashmir, the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle over the region’s independence. Their work was important and superb.”

By the way, the AP has now won 54 Pulitzer Prizes, including 32 for photography.

Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.