The Pulitzer Prize Board is standing behind its decision to award the 2018 National Reporting Pulitzer Prize jointly to The New York Times and The Washington Post for their coverage "on Russian interference in the U.S. election and its connections to the Trump campaign," according to a statement released by the board on Monday.
"The Pulitzer Prize Board has an established, formal process by which complaints against winning entries are carefully reviewed," the statement read.
In the past three years, the board said it has received inquiries about the two newspapers' joint Pulitzer, including from former President Donald Trump.
"These inquiries prompted the Pulitzer Board to commission two independent reviews of the work submitted by those organizations to our National Reporting competition," the board said. "Both reviews were conducted by individuals with no connection to the institutions whose work was under examination, nor any connection to each other."
"The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes," the board added.
Trump wrote the board last October to dispute the media outlets' awards, saying that the prizes were "based on false reporting of a non-existent link between the Kremlin and the Trump Campaign."
"As has been widely publicized, the coverage was no more than a politically motivated farce which attempted to spin a false narrative that my campaign supposedly colluded with Russia despite a complete lack of evidence underpinning this allegation," the former president wrote. "It has since been confirmed that the allegations were false and I have been exonerated of these charges."
"For over a century, the Pulitzer Prize has been widely recognized as a significant achievement in the field of journalism," Trump continued. "It has been viewed by many as an honor that is meant to be bestowed upon well-deserving recipients in recognition of their groundbreaking journalistic efforts. Given this powerful presumption, there is a heavy burden to ensure that these works are continuously and closely examined as to the veracity of the information contained therein."
When asked about the matter, the board released a statement to The Hill, saying, "The Pulitzer Board has a standing process for reviewing questions about past awards, under the guidelines of which complaints are considered by an appointed committee."
At the end of October, Trump followed his letter with a statement, saying, "These Pulitzer Prizes for totally incorrect reporting have become worthless and meaningless."
The New York Times and The Washington Post jointly won the coveted Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for "relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign."
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