Trina Reynolds-Tyler, MPP'20, wins Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting

UChicago alum shares honor for investigative series on missing Black girls and women in Chicago

Trina Reynolds-Tyler, MPP'20, has won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting with journalist Sarah Conway for their investigative series “Missing in Chicago.” The prize was announced May 6. 

According to the seven-part multimedia series, Black girls and women between the ages of 10 and 20 make up about 30% of all missing person cases in Chicago. “Missing in Chicago” combined data science, investigative journalism, and community engagement to reveal the racial bias and police neglect which has contributed to the crisis. 

A South Side native and graduate of UChicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, Reynolds-Tyler serves as data director at the Invisible Institute, an independent journalism production nonprofit that collaborates with partners including UChicago’s Pozen Center for Human Rights. 

She leads the data science project, Beneath the Surface, which uses machine learning to investigate the intersections of gender-based violence and policing. 

In 2021, Reynolds-Tyler began a two-year investigation with Conway, a senior reporter at City Bureau, in which they analyzed over one million police records and interviewed more than 40 sources. Their findings revealed patterns of case mismanagement by law enforcement.

“I am hopeful that journalists are more critical of data and commit to telling full stories of people, not just in the worst moments of their lives, but the moments before and after it,” Reynolds-Tyler told the Associated Press. “I want to uplift the loved ones of the missing people profiled in this story."

In the series, Reynolds-Tyler and Conway also outlined potential solutions, including police data and policy reform. 

Since its publication, “Missing in Chicago” has sparked an official review of police accountability systems by the Chicago Inspector General’s office. Conway and Reynolds-Tyler have also testified before the Illinois Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women and have been invited to speak at future city hearings. 

Reynolds-Tyler joins a distinguished list of UChicago scholars and alumni who have won Pulitzer Prizes. Recent honorees include author Brent Staples, AM’76, PhD’82; playwright Martyna Majok, AB’07; and poet Tyehimba Jess, AB’91.