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Reuters wins Pulitzer for migrant photos

Reuters photographers won a Pulitzer Prize - the agency's third in eight years - for coverage of the migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East.

The award for breaking news photography was shared with The New York Times, also for its images of the crisis.

The Pulitzer Prize committee recognised the Reuters team "for gripping photographs, each with its own voice, that follow migrant refugees hundreds of miles across uncertain boundaries to unknown destinations”.

Monday's announcement at New York's Columbia University marked the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzers, which began in 1917 after a bequest from newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. They are the most prestigious honours in US journalism and the arts.

Reuters' photo coverage of Middle Eastern migrants arriving in Europe was led from Greece by Yannis Behrakis, chief photographer for Greece and Cyprus and The Guardian 2015 Agency Photographer of the Year.

"We showed the world what was going on, and the world cared. It showed that humanity is still alive," Behrakis said. "We made for these unfortunate people’s voice to be heard. Now with a Pulitzer, we feel that our work has been professionally recognised.”

“Photographing the migrants was the ultimate test of staying out of the story,” said photographer Bernadett Szabo. “There is no way to shake the emotional impact... You have to let the story wash through you to remain human.”

"We are incredibly proud of the team for its outstanding work covering this historic and emotional journey," said Stephen Adler, editor-in-chief. "The migrant crisis has been cast as a test of unity for Europe. While it is certainly that, it is also the desperate flight from war and danger by more than a million individuals. The team depicted that flight with humanity and respect of the highest order.”

In January, Adler nominated Reuters news pictures coverage of the crisis in a letter to the Pulitzer Prize committee that said: “Traditionally, refugees are the subject of pity. The Reuters images, used in newspapers and on websites around the globe, conveyed the people’s courage, dignity, hope and determination…

“The journalistic challenges of such a story are immense. Photographers cannot ignore distress, but neither can they be aid workers. As they record lives stripped of privacy, they must not intrude. If asked for directions they can help, but they should not offer transport.”

"Winning a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography is hugely rewarding,” said James Smith, president and chief executive officer of Reuters owner Thomson Reuters. “Reuters has a long-standing commitment to the power of stories told through photos," "We are extremely proud of our brave and talented photojournalists who work on the front lines everywhere news happens. We congratulate them on this important recognition."

It was the third Pulitzer for Reuters, which won for international reporting in 2014 and for breaking news photography in 2008.

Reuters prize-winning news photos ■