The Pulitzer Prize refers to a series of important annual awards, given out for outstanding achievements in newspaper, magazine, website, literature and musical composition.
This year's award for breaking news photography was awarded to Los Angeles Times journalist Marcus Yam for his important coverage of Kabul, Afghanistan last year. Yam entered Afghanistan during the American withdrawal, where he then stayed to document the Taliban’s takeover over the two months that followed.
His photos captured moments of tragedy and emotion, including the terror and menace of other fighters and the difficulties and technical hurdles that are involved when trying to send images out of a war zone.
The judges described Yam's coverage as “raw and urgent images of the U.S. departure from Afghanistan that captured the human costs of the historic change in the country.”
He shared the award for breaking news photography with four photographers from Getty Images, commended for their “comprehensive and consistently riveting photos of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
His images display a chaotic and sometimes harrowing end to the United States’ 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, and including a young boy crumpled in anguish as he is carried to safety.
This year there was a special note from the Pulitzer Prize board, who recognized the journalists of Ukraine “for their courage, endurance and commitment to truthful reporting during Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia.”
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner and executive chairman of The Times, recalled in a videoconference with the paper’s staff how proud and scared he was last summer as he followed Yam’s harrowing coverage.
“You were out there doing amazing things,” Soon-Shiong said. “What you’ve done, with the photography and the images, was so important for the world. The word ‘genocide’ really needs to be said. And your pictorial really brings it home. It’s really important.”
Yam is 38, and turned to a career in photography after the aerospace engineering industry. He joined The Times in 2014, and has already been honored with awards in the US for documenting plights of people in the Gaza Strip.