Boston Globe opinion writer Abdallah Fayyad was recognized Monday as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for his series of editorials that called for the prosecution of former president Donald Trump and examined how Trump’s presidency exposed weaknesses in American democracy.
The series, which was published last June and titled “Future-Proofing the Presidency,” was praised by the Pulitzer jury as a “persuasive editorial series arguing that the president of the United States could be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.”
Fayyad, who previously worked at The Atlantic before joining the Globe in June 2020, said he was honored by the recognition but insisted on sharing the praise with his colleagues in the Globe’s opinion department.
“It was surreal seeing my name up there on the broadcast alongside such great journalists. But I knew the project was deserving of this recognition because it wasn’t just my work; it took a whole team to make the series what it was — an amazing team at that,” Fayyad said in an e-mail Monday after the prizes were announced.
The Pulitzer Prizes, awarded annually by Columbia University since 1917, were announced Monday and are seen as the highest honor in journalism. The winners in the editorial writing category were Lisa Falkenberg, Michael Lindenberger, Joe Holley, and Luis Carrasco of the Houston Chronicle, for editorials that “revealed voter suppression tactics” and “argued for sensible voting reforms,” the jury wrote.
Fayyad said his hope for the Globe series on the Trump presidency was that it would spark a conversation “on the need for the United States to break from its tradition of not prosecuting former presidents, and compel our government to take the necessary steps to prevent the rise of an American tyrant.”
“American democracy had been eroding long before Donald Trump rose to power, but his norm-busting, law-breaking presidency showed us just how desperately we needed to reform the presidency itself,” Fayyad wrote in an e-mail.
“Trump embodied the kind of corruption that weakens our democratic institutions — how he demanded our public servants be loyal to him rather than their country; how he essentially turned the presidency into a business expansion of the Trump organization; how he used his power to try to illegitimately stay in power. All of that unfortunately had fatal consequences. So we started by asking the simple question: How do we prevent all of that from happening again?”
The series was co-edited by Alan Wirzbicki, the Globe’s deputy editor for editorials, and former editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman. Wirzbicki and Assistant Editorial Page Editor Rachelle G. Cohen were finalists in the editorial writing category last year.
“Many newspapers have chosen to shrink or eliminate their editorial departments,” Wirzbicki wrote in an e-mail Monday. “It is gratifying that the Globe is not one of them, and I think this recognition serves as a reminder that bold, thought-provoking editorials still have a place in a changing media environment.”