Renée C. Byer of The Sacramento Bee, Oded Balilty, a staff photographer for the Associated Press, and Los Angeles Times staff photographer Rick Loomis were among the winners of the 2007 Pulitzer Prizes, the 91st year of the competition that awards the top journalism, letters, drama and music produced in America over the past year.

Byer won the Feature Photography Pulitzer for “A Mother’s Journey,” which the Pulitzer board called an “intimate portrayal of a single mother and her young son as he loses his battle with cancer.”

Balilty took the prize for Breaking News Photography for his “powerful photograph of a lone Jewish woman defying Israeli forces as they remove illegal settlers in the West Bank.”

Balilty’s win is a break from recent tradition; the past five Breaking News Photography Pulitzers have been awarded to institutions or groups for a body of work rather than a single image by a single photographer. The last time a single image won the award was in 2001, when the AP’s Alan Diaz took the prize for his shot of armed U.S. federal agents seizing the Cuban boy Elián Gonzalez from his relatives’ Miami home.

Loomis, together with Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling, shared in the Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting for the five-part series “Altered Oceans,” described as a “richly portrayed reports on the world’s distressed oceans, telling the story in print and online, and stirring reaction among readers and officials.”

This is the 91st year since the Pulitzer Prizes were first awarded, and just the second year the competition has accepted online entries in all the categories.

In addition to the winners, nominated finalists in the Feature Photography category include Washington Times photographer Mary F. Calvert “for her haunting depiction of sub-Sahara African women afflicted with fistula after childbirth,” and The Palm Beach Post’s Gary Coronado “for his vivid images of Central Americans who, desperate to enter America illegally, risk their lives leaping on Mexican freight trains rumbling northward.”

Nominated finalists in the Breaking News category include The Associated Press Staff “for its breathtaking images of brutal warfare between Israel and Hezbollah,” and The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Bryant “for his poignant photographs of the devastating injury to Barbaro, the famed racehorse.”

The full list of winners can be found at