The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper has won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for its coverage of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police while Reuters and the Atlantic shared the award for explanatory reporting.

The Pulitzer Prizes are the most prestigious awards in American journalism and have been handed out since 1917, when newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer established them in his will.

Several of the winners were recognized for their coverage ofthe COVID-19 pandemic and for reporting on the protests that erupted after Floyd's death in May 2020.

"The nation's news organisations faced the complexity of sequentially covering a global pandemic, a racial reckoning and a bitterly contested presidential election," Mindy Marques, co-chair of the Pulitzer Board, said at the announcement ceremony, which was broadcast online.

The board also said it was awarding a "special citation" to Darnella Frazier, the teenaged bystander who recorded video of Floyd's murder on her cellphone, which it said highlighted "the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice."

Today's announcement had been postponed from April amid the pandemic.

The awards luncheon, which normally takes place soon after at Columbia University, has been postponed until autumn.