Chicago’s Invisible Institute shares Pulitzer Prize for national reporting

Jamie Kalven

Invisible Institute, the Chicago-based nonprofit journalism production company, won its first Pulitzer Prize Friday for its work on a year-long investigation of K-9 units and the damage that police dogs inflict on Americans.

Along with the staffs of The Marshall Project, Alabama Media Group and the Indianapolis Star, Invisible Institute was cited in the national reporting category. It was the sole Chicago winner among the 2021 honorees.

Invisible Institute reporters Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Andrew Fan and Ellen Glover collaborated on the joint project with their counterparts.

Invisible Institute

The Pulitzer Prize board also cited Invisible Institute as a finalist in the audio reporting category (along with The Intercept and Topic Studios) for “Somebody,” a seven-part podcast series investigating the murder of a 22-year-old Chicago man, Courtney Copeland, and the institutional indifference surrounding it.

"I am delighted for the superb Invisible Institute reporters who worked on these two investigations," founder and executive director Jamie Kalven told me. "This honor belongs to them. The Pulitzer board's acknowledgment of the quality of our work is especially sweet for me as I prepare to step down as executive director and assume the role that means most to me — member of the Invisible Institute team."

Kalven, the independent investigative journalist who launched the company in 2014, announced in March he was stepping down as executive director, saying: “It’s time to make way for the next generation of leadership.” His reporting first brought the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention.

Coverage of policing in America accounted for six of the 15 Pulitzer Prizes awarded this year in journalism categories. Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the video showing George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.

Friday's comment of the day: Terry Stanton: Disappointing that NPR of all people would try to knock ME-TV FM off the air. It's one of the few commercial stations with a sense of integrity. The only three stations I have on my FM Favorites are ME TV, WBEZ, and WXRT. If NPR knocks off ME, no more contributions to BEZ from me!