‘Hamilton’ becomes 9th musical to win Pulitzer Prize

“Hamilton” already has an impressive resume: last year, it became the highest-debuting musical on the Billboard 200 in five decades. It unseated “The Lion King” as the top-grossing Broadway musical for a week. It has drawn thousands of people to the Broadway sidewalk to catch a glimpse of its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, or a few moments of song.

Today, it added another credit: the musical, which tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton through a blend of rap, hip-hop and other musical styles, won a Pulitzer. The musical joins eight others that have received Pulitzer Prizes, including “A Chorus Line” and “Rent.”

Cartoonist Jack Ohman of the Sacremento Bee won in the editorial cartooning category for his style that combines “bold line work with subtle colors and textures,” according to the prize committee. Ohman’s series “The Care Package,” which he wrote for PBS NewsHour, looked at the challenges his family faced during the final years of his father’s life.

READ NEXT: “The Care Package,” a series by Jack Ohman

The Associated Press won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for its reporting on the brutal labor conditions and abuse faced by fishermen in Southeast Asia. The staff at the Los Angeles Times won in the breaking news category for the team’s reporting in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings.

Author Joby Warrick took home the general nonfiction award for “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” her book exploring the Islamic State’s rise to becoming an international organization. Chief arts and culture correspondent Jeffrey Brown interviewed Warrick about the book at the Miami Book Fair last November.

Kathryn Schulz won for feature writing for her piece “The Really Big One,” a piece that examined the potential consequences of a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, while Emily Nussbaum won the award for criticism for her extensive work in television reviews.

T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project won in the explanatory reporting category for “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” an investigation of how two different police departments handled cases of sexual assault. PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan interviewed Armstrong about the project in December.

The awards, now in their hundredth year, are administered by Columbia University.

Read the full list of winners below.

Public Service

Associated Press: For an investigation of severe labor abuses tied to the supply of seafood to American supermarkets and restaurants, reporting that freed 2,000 slaves, brought perpetrators to justice and inspired reforms.

Breaking News Reporting

Los Angeles Times Staff: For exceptional reporting, including both local and global perspectives, on the shooting in San Bernardino and the terror investigation that followed.

Investigative Reporting

Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Tampa Bay Times and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: For a stellar example of collaborative reporting by two news organizations that revealed escalating violence and neglect in Florida mental hospitals and laid the blame at the door of state officials.

Explanatory Reporting

T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Ken Armstrong of The Marshall Project: For a startling examination and exposé of law enforcement’s enduring failures to investigate reports of rape properly and and to comprehend the traumatic effects on its victims.

Local Reporting

Michael LaForgia, Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner of Tampa Bay Times: For exposing a local school board’s culpability in turning some county schools into failure factories, with tragic consequences for the community. (Moved by the Board from the Public Service category, where it was also entered.)

National Reporting

The Washington Post Staff: For its revelatory initiative in creating and using a national database to illustrate how often and why the police shoot to kill and who the victims are most likely to be.

International Reporting

Alissa J. Rubin of The New York Times: For thoroughly reported and movingly written accounts giving voice to Afghan women who were forced to endure unspeakable cruelties.

Feature Writing

Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker: For an elegant scientific narrative of the rupturing of the Cascadia fault line, a masterwork of environmental reporting and writing.


Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe: For extensively reported columns that probe the legacy of busing in Boston and its effect on education in the city with a clear eye on ongoing racial contradictions.


Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker: For television reviews written with an affection that never blunts the shrewdness of her analysis or the easy authority of her writing.

Editorial Writing

John Hackworth of Sun Newspapers, Charlotte Harbor, FL: For fierce, indignant editorials that demanded truth and change after the deadly assault of an inmate by corrections officers.

Editorial Cartooning

Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee: For cartoons that convey wry, rueful perspectives through sophisticated style that combines bold line work with subtle colors and textures.

Breaking News Photography

Mauricio Lima, Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks and Daniel Etter of The New York Times: For photographs that captured the resolve of refugees, the perils of their journeys and the struggle of host countries to take them in.

Photography Staff of Thomson Reuters: For gripping photographs, each with its own voice, that follow migrant refugees hundreds of miles across uncertain boundaries to unknown destinations.

Feature Photography

Jessica Rinaldi of The Boston Globe: For the raw and revealing photographic story of a boy who strives to find his footing after abuse by those he trusted.


The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press): A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a “man of two minds” — and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.


Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda: A landmark American musical about the gifted and self-destructive founding father whose story becomes both contemporary and irresistible.


Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, by T.J. Stiles (Alfred A. Knopf): A rich and surprising new telling of the journey of the iconic American soldier whose death turns out not to have been the main point of his life. (Moved by the Board from the Biography category.)

Biography or Autobiography

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan (Penguin Press): A finely crafted memoir of a youthful obsession that has propelled the author through a distinguished writing career.


Ozone Journal, by Peter Balakian (University of Chicago Press): Poems that bear witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty.

General Nonfiction

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, by Joby Warrick (Doubleday): A deeply reported book of remarkable clarity showing how the flawed rationale for the Iraq War led to the explosive growth of the Islamic State.


In for a Penny, In for a Pound, by Henry Threadgill (Pi Recordings): Recording released on May 26, 2015 by Zooid, a highly original work in which notated music and improvisation mesh in a sonic tapestry that seems the very expression of modern American life (Pi Recordings).

Support PBS NewsHour: