The Advocate newspaper on Monday was awarded its first-ever Pulitzer Prize for its series of reports on non-unanimous juries in Louisiana.

The newspaper's 2018 series on the racial impacts of Louisiana’s unique laws set the stage for Louisiana’s voters to amend the state constitution seven months later to demand unanimous verdicts in criminal cases.

The Pulitzers, administered by Columbia University, are journalism’s most prestigious awards. The Advocate’s Pulitzer Prize was for local reporting.

Judges called it "a damning portrayal of the state’s discriminatory conviction system, including a Jim Crow-era law, that enabled Louisiana courts to send defendants to jail without jury consensus on the accused’s guilt."

Other awards this year went to the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and other papers. A special citation was also issued to singer Aretha Franklin "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades." 

The Advocate’s five-part special report, entitled “Tilting the Scales” debuted on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.

It was overseen by the newspaper’s managing editor for investigations, Gordon Russell, and written by Russell, Jeff Adelson, Jim Mustian, and John Simerman. 

The Advocate was also a finalist for a Pulitzer in editorial writing for its editorials on the jury law topic.

WWL-TV is a media partner of The New Orleans Advocate. The newspaper also has editions in Baton Rouge and Acadiana.