Trymaine D. Lee (born September 20, 1978)[1] is an American journalist. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Hurricane Katrina as part of a team at The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.[2] From 2006 to 2010, Lee wrote for The New York Times and from early 2011 to November 2012 he was a senior reporter at The Huffington Post. Since then Lee is a national reporter for MSNBC, where he writes for the network's digital arm.

Trymaine Lee
Born (1978-09-20) September 20, 1978 (age 41)
EducationRowan University B.A., Journalism
Camden County College A.A., Communications Studies
EmployerNBCUniversal, Comcast
TelevisionMSNBC Live
AwardsPulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting (2006)


Lee was raised in Chesilhurst, New Jersey. As a child, he showed an early interest in writing and athletics while attending the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania.[3] After obtaining an associate degree in communications studies at Camden County College, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Rowan University.[4] While at Rowan, he wrote for the school newspaper The Whit and was involved with the NAACP.[5]


Lee began his career reporting on police and crime at the Philadelphia Tribune and the Trentonian of Trenton, New Jersey. Outside of his work as a daily reporter, his work has also appeared in the magazines Ebony, Essence, Real Health and The Crisis.[4]

Times-Picayune and Hurricane KatrinaEdit

As a reporter for The Times-Picayune, Lee covered Hurricane Katrina as it happened. He had arrived in New Orleans only four months before.[1] Lee says that he was given the opportunity to evacuate on August 29 by another editor, but chose to stay and cover the story. His article "Nightmare in the 9th Ward all too real for one woman" was published on September 1, 2005—exclusively online because the newspaper could not be printed.[5]

The New York TimesEdit

From 2006 to 2010, Lee was a staff reporter for The New York Times, where he primarily covered Harlem.[6] During this period, Lee also reported from Albany and Brooklyn and contributed to a series of videos called "New York On Less".[4]

The Huffington PostEdit

In March 2011, Lee was hired to cover "national issues that impact the black community" for Huffington Post's Black Voices. The move was a consequence of AOL's acquisition and expansion of Huffington.[4][7]

Reporting on Trayvon MartinEdit

Lee did not learn of Trayvon Martin until more than a week after the teenager's death, but he was one of the first national reporters to cover the story, for Huffington Post's Black Voices on March 8, 2012. He continued filing stories on the case nearly every day that month. He believes that his "early coverage definitely helped light the fire ... Before we pushed the story, few if any major national news outlets were covering it."[8][9] Lee appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann to discuss the story multiple times.[10]


In November 2012, Lee joined MSNBC as a national reporter for its digital unit, reporting on social justice issues and the impact of politics and policy on everyday people.[11] Lee described his move to MSNBC as a chance to "flex different muscles" as a journalist.[12]


Pulitzer PrizeEdit

"Nightmare in the 9th Ward all too real for one woman" was one of the ten stories cited when The Times-Picayune staff won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2006. Lee shared the award with three other reporters, Doug MacCash, Manuel Torres, and Mark Schleifstein.[2][13] The award marked the first time a Pulitzer was awarded for online journalism.[5] Lee also contributed to coverage of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal by The New York Times, which won the Breaking News Pulitzer three years later.[4][14]

Other awardsEdit

In 2006, Lee was named Emerging Journalist of the Year (one of three) by the National Association of Black Journalists.[1] The New York chapter of the association gave him the Griot award in 2011.[4] In April 2012, Lee won the April Sidney Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation for his coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.[8] His alma maters Rowan University and Camden County College have both recognized him as outstanding among their alumni.[5][15]


  1. ^ a b c Walker, Marlon (Summer 2006). "Emerging Journalist of the Year: Trymaine Lee, New Orleans Times-Picayune" (PDF). NABJ Journal. 23 (2): 16–17.
  2. ^ a b "The 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Breaking News Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 28 June 2012. With reprints of 10 works (Times-Picayune articles 30 August to 3 September 2005).
  3. ^ "A Storyteller with Purpose" (PDF). Alumni profile. The Hershey Legacy. Summer 2006. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 3, 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "The Journalist". Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Schute, Michael. "The eyes of a hurricane: To tell the tragic story, he had to stay to see it through". Alumni Profiles. Rowan Magazine ( Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Trymaine Lee {index}". Times Topics. The New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Trymaine Lee first African-American hired following AOL/Huffington Post partnership". Target Market News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Trymaine Lee Wins April Sidney". The Sidney Hillman Foundation. April 2012. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  9. ^ Powell, Tracie (12 April 2012). "How Pulitzer-winning writer moved Trayvon Martin story from margins to mainstream". Poynter. Archived from the original on 2012-06-13. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Guest: Trymaine Lee". Current TV. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Trymaine Lee: National Reporter at". LinkedIn.
  12. ^ Beaujon, Andrew (15 November 2012). "Trymaine Lee: New MSNBC gig is a chance to ‘flex different muscles’" Archived 2013-06-25 at the Wayback Machine. Poynter.
  13. ^ Lee, Trymaine D. (1 September 2005). "Nightmare in the 9th Ward all too real for one woman". The Times-Picayune. Reprint at The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  14. ^ "The 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Breaking News Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 9 November 2013. With reprints of 10 works (New York Times articles 10 March to 13 March 2008).
  15. ^ "Distinguished Faculty and Alumni". Camden County Community College. Retrieved 28 June 2012.

External linksEdit