journalism awards

3 Filipinas named finalists in 2024 Pulitzer Prizes

Gelo Gonzales

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3 Filipinas named finalists in 2024 Pulitzer Prizes

From left to right, Nicole Dungca, Hannah Reyes Morales, and Ren Galeno

Photos from the Pulitzer website

Meet photographer Hannah Reyes Morales, visual artist Ren Galeno, and investigative journalist Nicole Dungca

MANILA, Philippines – Two Filipinas – photographer Hannah Reyes Morales and visual artist Ren Galeno – and Filipino-American investigative journalist Nicole Dungca were named finalists in the 2024 Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious honor for journalists in the United States, on Wednesday, May 6. 

Morales is a finalist under the “Feature Photography” category for her photographic work in the New York Times story “How the Youth Boom in Africa Will Change the World.” It documented a “‘youthquake’ occurring in Africa where, by 2050, the continent will account for one-quarter of the world’s population and one-third of its young people,” according to the Pulitzer site. 

Among Morales’ awards are the 2023 Pictures of the Year International Award, and a 2023 World Press Photo Award. She was also commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2021. 

Morales, on her Instagram page, wrote about how she felt when she found out about being a finalist through a call from one of her editors: “I’m still in a daze since that call, overwhelmed and grateful for the chance to have worked on this story, written by @declanwalsh. Thank you to everyone we photographed – it was not the easiest assignment but those we photographed helped us understand, bit by bit, what it means to be young and reshaping Africa, and the world.” 

Under the “Illustrated Reporting and Commentary” category, a team from The Washington Post composed of journalists Claire Healy, Filipino-American Nicole Dungca, and Davao visual artist Ren Galeno, were named as finalists for the story “Searching for Maura.”

“For masterful and sensitive use of the comic form to reveal the story of a great injustice to a group of Filipinos exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, where some of them died,” the Pulitzer site wrote. 

Galeno wrote on her Facebook page, “I’m endlessly, endlessly grateful for the incredible team who brought [the titular Maura’s] story to the surface. I’m honored to have worked and learned from them!”

Manila Bulletin reported that, prior to being a Pulitzer finalist, Galeno’s biggest project was a comic anthology called “‘Ten Years to Save the World,’ a project supported by the British Council as part of a number of creative commissions in response to climate change and COP26.” 

On her Twitter page, Dungca has the “Searching for Maura” story pinned, touching on how stories can spur action. “Maura’s story sparked this investigation into the Smithsonian’s racial brain collection,” Dungca said. 

Around a week after The Post’s stories on Maura, and the Smithsonian racial brain collection, the Smithsonian Institution would issue an apology for how, as CNN reported, it “amassed its vast collection of human remains” that was “taken largely from Black and Indigenous people, as well as other people of color, and mostly without their consent.”

Dungca was also the co-host of the investigative podcast Broken Doors, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Radio, and was also a finalist in the Audio Reporting category of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2023. Dungca also currently serves as the president of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Two Filipinos have won a Pulitzer: Manny Mogato in 2018, and Carlos P. Romulo in 1942. There have been several Filipino-American winners, according to The Asian Journal: Byron Acohido and Alex Tizon won in 1997, Cheryl Diaz Meyer in 2004, and Jose Antonio Vargas as part of The Washington Post staff in 2008. 

Photographer Ezra Acayan was a finalist in 2021 while fellow lensman Romeo Gacad was a two-time finalist and three-time nominee before his death in 2021–

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.