Hearst Connecticut editor among 2021 Pulitzer Prize winners

This undated photo shows the front and back sides of the medal awarded for the Pulitzer Prizes in New York. The Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and the arts will be announced, Friday, June 11, 2021, almost two months later than initially planned due to the pandemic. (The Pulitzer Prizes via AP)

The data editor for Hearst Connecticut Media Group and its affiliate in New York was among the winners of the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes Friday for a series he contributed to while at the Boston Globe.

Matt Rocheleau, data editor for Hearst Connecticut Media Group and the Albany Times Union and investigations editor for HCMG, shared a Pulitzer Prize in the investigative reporting category for a series of stories examined federal trucking oversight.

Rochelau’s colleagues at The Globe, Vernal Coleman, Laura Crimaldi, Evan Allen and Brendan McCarthy, were also named as recipients for the series.

The Pulitzer Prizes said the group’s reporting “uncovered a systematic failure by state governments to share information about dangerous truck drivers that could have kept them off the road, prompting immediate reforms.”

“This is a true honor, and I hope this will raise greater awareness of the reform that is needed to make roadways safer across the country. Too many families have suffered unnecessarily,” Rochelau said.

“Congratulations to all of today’s winners and finalists. Their incredible work is a testament to the important role that quality journalism plays in our society,” he added. “I look forward to continuing to work on stories that drive change at Hearst Connecticut Media Group and the Times Union.”

Rochelau came to Hearst Connecticut Media and the Albany Times Union in April.

During his decade career at The Globe, Rochelau worked as a member of the newspaper’s decorated Spotlight team of investigative reporters. He also contributed to other major stories, including The Globe’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

More recently, Rochelau was involved in Hearst Connecticut Media’s coverage of the arrest of Bridgeport state Sen. Dennis Bradley and his campaign treasurer last month over their alleged scheme to defraud the state’s public campaign finance of almost $180,000. Rochelau’s reporting with Data Visualization Developer Vivien Ngo broke down text messages between Bradley and Jessica Martinez, his treasurer and a former chair of the Bridgeport Board of Education that are key to federal prosecutors’ case against the pair.

The Pulitzer board Friday also offered a special citation to Darnella Frazier, the teenager who’s cellphone video of George Floyd’s arrest that resulted in his death sparked a summer of protest against racism and police brutality in the U.S. and around the world.

The Pulitzer Prizes said Frazier’s video highlighted “the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quests for truth and justice.”

In breaking news reporting, the staff of the Star Tribune in Minneaopolis “for its urgent, authoritative and nuanced coverage of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police Minneapolis and of the reverberations that followed,” the prizes said. The reporters cited include former Connecticut Post and News-Times reporter Libor Jany.

In Explanatory Reporting, two prizes were awarded to Ed Yong of The Atlantic for a series of articles on the COVID-19 pandemic’s course that highlighted the government’s failures; and to Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Andrea Januta, Jaimi Dowdell and Jackie Botts of Reuters for an examination of qualified immunity, the legal doctrine often used to shield police from prosecution in cases of excessive force.

In local reporting, Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi of the Tampa Bay Times took home an award for their series “Targeted,” which exposed how a sheriff built an intelligence operation “that harassed residents and used grades and child welfare records to profile school children,” the prizes said.

In the Prizes’ national reporting category, the award went to staffs of The Marshall Project; AL.com, Birmingham; IndyStar; Indianapolis and the Invisible Institute of Chicago for their yearlong investigation looking at violence by police dogs “prompting numerous statewide reforms,” the Prizes said.

Three reporters for BuzzFeed News, New York – Megha Rajagopalan, Allison Killing and Christo Buschek – took home the prize for International Reporting for their investigation into mass detention facilities built by the Chinese government to hold Muslims.

Nadja Dross, a freelance contributor to the California Sunday Magazine, was awarded the Feature Writing prize for her piece documenting a group of migrants’ journey through the Darien Gap. Mitchell S. Jackson of Runner’s World was also awarded the prize in the feature writing category for a piece on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

The Prizes’ Commentary award went to Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch, for commentary on the city’s dismantling of statues of Confederate leaders.

In the Prizes’ Criticism category, Wesley Morris of the New York Times took home the prize for “unrelentingly relevant and deeply engaged criticism on the intersection of race and culture in America,” the organization said.

For Editorial writing, the prize was awarded to Robert Greene of the Los Angeles Times for editorials on policing, bail reform, prisons and mental health, the Pulitzers said.

Connecticut Media Group