How a Tiny Chicago News Organization Won 2 Pulitzers

When Jamie Kalven met Yohance Lacour in 2017, the two men quickly realized they had something important in common.

Mr. Kalven, the founder of the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit Chicago newsroom, was working in Chicago’s Stateway Gardens housing development in 1997 when a vicious hate crime wounded the community there deeply. And Mr. Lacour helped a local newspaper cover that story at the time.

With Mr. Kalven’s help, Mr. Lacour’s recollection of that period — and the story of his eventual incarceration on a drug conspiracy charge — became the subject of an 11-episode podcast, “You Didn’t See Nothin,” which on Monday won the Pulitzer Prize for audio reporting.

Mr. Lacour’s podcast won one of two Pulitzers this year for the Invisible Institute, a small, crusading newsroom on Chicago’s South Side known for holding city authorities to account. The other prize, for local reporting, went to the organization’s data director, Trina Reynolds-Tyler, who reported an investigative series on missing Black girls and women in Chicago.

The awards made the Invisible Institute the biggest surprise of Monday’s Pulitzer Prize announcements, an annual celebration of the news industry’s best work.

“It’s stunning,” Mr. Kalven, 75, said in an interview. “I just stepped out of our office, which is in a complete uproar of excitement.”

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