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Nonprofit Chicago production house Invisible Institute wins 2 Pulitzer Prizes

CHICAGO — A nonprofit Chicago journalism production company dedicated to holding public institutions accountable won two Pulitzer Prizes for local and audio reporting on Monday.

Based on the city’s South Side, the Invisible Institute and its reporter Trina Reynolds-Tyler, along with Sarah Conway of journalism laboratory City Bureau, won a Pulitzer for a seven-part investigative series on missing Black girls and women in Chicago and how racism and the police response contributed to the problem.

The reporters questioned the Chicago Police Department’s categorization of 99.8% of missing person cases from 2000 to 2021 as “not criminal in nature.” Reporters identified 11 cases that were wrongly categorized as “closed non-criminal” in the missing persons data despite being likely homicides.

“I am hopeful that journalists are more critical of data and commit to telling full stories of people, not just in the worst moments of their lives, but the moments before and after it,” Reynolds-Tyler said. “I want to uplift the loved ones of the missing people profiled in this story.”

Mayor Brandon Johnson filed a resolution last month calling for a hearing about missing person cases and the creation of a dedicated task force.

The Invisible Institute also won a Pulitzer for audio reporting with podcast producer USG Audio for the series “You Didn’t See Nothin.”

The series follows host Yohance Lacour, an ex-con, as he revisits a 1997 hate crime on the South Side that introduced him to the world of investigative journalism, examining how its ripple effects have shaped his own life over the past quarter-century.

“I hope that the world sees what can happen when you give Black men a second chance and what can happen when you offer support and opportunity instead of imprisonment,” Lacour said. “We have a lot of talented minds behind those walls.”

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