Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize
Awarded for Excellence in newspaper journalism, literary achievements, and musical composition
Country United States
Presented by Columbia University
First awarded 1917
Official website www.pulitzer.org

The Pulitzer Prize /ˈpʊltsər/[1] is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City.[2] Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$10,000 cash award.[3] The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.[3][4]

Entry and prize consideration

The Pulitzer Prize does not automatically consider all applicable works in the media, but only those that have specifically entered.[5] (There is a $50 entry fee, paid for each desired entry category.) Entries must fit in at least one of the specific prize categories, and cannot simply gain entrance for being literary or musical.[5] Works can also only be entered in a maximum of two categories, regardless of their properties.

Each year, 102 judges are selected, by the Pulitzer Prize Board, to serve on 20 separate juries for the 21 award categories (one jury for both photography awards). Most juries consist of five members, except for those for public service, investigative reporting, beat reporting, feature writing and commentary categories, which have seven members.[2] For each award category, a jury makes three nominations. The board selects the winner by majority vote from the nominations, or—75% majority vote—bypasses the nominations and selects a different entry. The board can also vote to issue no award. The board and journalism jurors are not paid for their work; however, the jurors in letters, music, and drama receive a $2,000 honorarium for the year, and each chair receives $2,500.[2]

Difference between entrants and nominated finalists

Anyone whose work has been submitted is called an entrant. The jury selects a group of nominated finalists and announces them, together with the winner for each category. However, some journalists who were only submitted, but not nominated as finalists, still claim to be Pulitzer nominees in promotional material.

For example, Bill Dedman of msnbc.com (the recipient of the 1989 Investigative Reporting Prize) pointed out in 2012 that financial journalist Betty Liu was described as "Pulitzer Prize-Nominated" in her Bloomberg Television advertising and the jacket of her book, while National Review writer Jonah Goldberg made similar claims of "Pulitzer nomination" to promote his books. Dedman wrote, "To call that submission a Pulitzer 'nomination' is like saying that Adam Sandler is an Oscar nominee if Columbia Pictures enters That's My Boy in the Academy Awards. Many readers realize that the Oscars don't work that way—the studios don't pick the nominees. It's just a way of slipping 'Academy Awards' into a bio. The Pulitzers also don't work that way, but fewer people know that."[6]


Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer gave money in his will to Columbia University to launch a journalism school and establish the Prize. It allocated $250,000 to the prize and scholarships.[7] He specified "four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one in education, and four traveling scholarships."[2] After his death, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded June 4, 1917; they are now announced each April. The Chicago Tribune under the control of Colonel McCormick felt that the Pulitzer Prize was nothing more than a 'mutual admiration society' and not to be taken seriously; the paper refused to compete for the prize during McCormick's tenure up until 1961.[8][9]

Repeat recipients


Many people have won more than one Pulitzer Prize. Nelson Harding is the only person to have won a Prize in two consecutive years, the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1927 and 1928.

Arts & Letters

Four prizes
Three prizes
Two prizes

Arts & Letters and Journalism

Three prizes
Two prizes


This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Four prizes
Three prizes
Two prizes


Nominally, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service is awarded only to news organizations, not individuals. In rare instances, contributors to the entry are singled out in the citation in a manner analogous to individual winners.[11][12] Journalism awards may be awarded to individuals or newspapers or newspaper staffs; infrequently, staff Prize citations also distinguish the work of prominent contributors.[13]


Awards are made in categories relating to journalism, arts, letters and fiction. Reports and photographs by United States-based newspapers, magazines and news organizations (including news websites) that "[publish] regularly"[14] are eligible for the journalism prize. Beginning in 2007, "an assortment of online elements will be permitted in all journalism categories except for the competition's two photography categories, which will continue to restrict entries to still images."[15] In December 2008 it was announced that for the first time content published in online-only news sources would be considered.[16]

Although certain winners with magazine affiliations (most notably Moneta Sleet, Jr. and Sheri Fink) were allowed to enter the competition due to eligible partnerships or concurrent publication of their work in newspapers, the Pulitzer Prize Advisory Board and the Pulitzer Prize Board historically resisted the admission of magazines into the competition, resulting in the formation of the National Magazine Awards at the Columbia Journalism School in 1966.

In 2015, magazines were allowed to enter for the first time in two categories (Investigative Reporting and Feature Writing). By 2016, this provision had expanded to three additional categories (International Reporting, Criticism and Editorial Cartooning).[17] That year, Kathryn Schulz (Feature Writing) and Emily Nussbaum (Criticism) of The New Yorker became the first magazine affiliates to receive the Prize under the expanded eligibility criterion.[18]

In October 2016, magazine eligibility was extended to all journalism categories.[19]

Definitions of Pulitzer Prize categories as presented in the 2008 competition:

There are six categories in letters and drama:

There is one prize given for music:

There have been dozens of Special Citations and Awards: more than ten each in Arts, Journalism, and Letters, and five for Pulitzer Prize service, most recently to Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. in 1985.

In addition to the prizes, Pulitzer Travelling Fellowships are awarded to four outstanding students of the Graduate School of Journalism as selected by the faculty.

Changes to categories

Over the years, awards have been discontinued either because the field of the award has been expanded to encompass other areas, the award been renamed because the common terminology changed, or the award has become obsolete, such as the prizes for telegraphic reporting, which was based on the old technology of the telegram.

An example of a writing field that has been expanded was the former Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (awarded 1918–1947), which has been changed to the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which also includes short stories, novellas, novelettes, and fictional poetry, as well as novels.

Chronology of Pulitzer Prize categories
10s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s Current Categories
7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Journalism
7 9 1 0 2 5 1 3 8 2 Editorial Writing
7 9 8 7 Reporting
7 0 5 0 Public Service
8 Newspaper History Award
2 3 6 0 5 3 Editorial Cartooning
9 7 Correspondence
2 7 Telegraphic Reporting - International
8 7 International Reporting
2 3 7 Telegraphic Reporting - National
8 1 National Reporting
2 7 Photography
8 Feature Photography
8 9 Spot News Photography
0 Breaking News Photography
5 0 Specialized Reporting
1 6 Beat Reporting
8 2 7 Local Reporting
3 3 Local Reporting - Edition time[lower-alpha 1]
4 4 Local General or Spot News Reporting[lower-alpha 1]
5 0 General News Reporting
1 7 Spot News Reporting
8 1 Breaking News Reporting
3 3 Local Reporting - No Edition time[lower-alpha 1]
4 4 Local Investigative Specialized Reporting[lower-alpha 1]
5 Investigative Reporting
0 Commentary
0 2 Criticism
9 4 4 Feature Writing
5 7 Explanatory Journalism
8 Explanatory Reporting
10s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s Letters, drama, music
7 2 Biography or Autobiography
7 9 4 4 History
7 9 2 4 7 1 3 4 6 8 2 4 6 7 6 Drama
7 0 1 6 7 Novel
8 4 7 4 1 4 7 2 Fiction
2 6 Poetry
3 3 4 5 1 Music
2 General Nonfiction
10s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s Others
Special Awards & Citations
7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 Current Categories
   awarded, category still exists (one small number marks the year since this category exists)
   awarded, category renamed (two small numbers marking the first and the last year this category existed under that name)
   awarded, category no longer exists (two small numbers marking the first and the last year this category existed)
   not awarded, although there were nominees and a category in this year
  • The small single numbers mark the last digit of the year and are linked to the corresponding Pulitzer Prize article of that year.
  1. 1 2 3 4 Category Local Reporting - Edition time is obviously renamed to Local General or Spot News Reporting and Local Reporting - No Edition time is renamed to Local Investigative Specialized Reporting. But it could be the other way too. Until now a citation is still needed.


The 19-member board[20] comprises major newspaper editors and executives and six academics, including the president of Columbia University, the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the administrator of the Prizes. The administrator and the dean participate in the deliberations as ex officio members but cannot vote. Aside from the president and dean (who serve for the duration of their respective appointments) and the administrator (who is reelected annually), the board elects its own members for a three-year term; members may serve a maximum of three terms. Members of the board and the juries are selected with close attention "given to professional excellence and affiliation, as well as diversity in terms of gender, ethnic background, geographical distribution and size of newspaper." Each year, the chair rotates to the most senior member or members.[21] The board makes all prize decisions.[2]


Criticism and studies

Some critics of the Pulitzer Prize have accused the organization of favoring those who support liberal causes or oppose conservative causes. Syndicated columnist L. Brent Bozell said that the Pulitzer Prize has a "liberal legacy", particularly in its prize for commentary.[27] He pointed to a 31-year period in which only five conservatives won prizes for commentary. The claim is also supported by a statement from the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary, Kathleen Parker: "It's only because I'm a conservative basher that I'm now recognized."[28]

A 2012 academic study by journalism professor Yong Volz and Chinese University journalism professor Francis Lee found "that only 27% of Pulitzer winners since 1991 were females, while newsrooms are about 33% female."[29][30] The study concluded that the majority of female "winners enjoyed access to greater resources than the average male winner," resources including such things as attendance at Ivy League schools, metropolitan upbringing, or employment with an elite publication such as the New York Times.[31]

See also


  1. "FAQ". Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 29. How is 'Pulitzer' pronounced? The correct pronunciation is 'PULL it sir.'
    The mistaken pronunciation /ˈpjuːltsər/, starting off like "pew", is quite common, and included in the major British and American dictionaries.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Topping, Seymour (2008). "History of The Pulitzer Prizes". The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University. Retrieved September 13, 2011. Updated 2013 by Sig Gissler.
  3. 1 2 Topping, Seymour (2008). "Administration". The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University. Retrieved January 31, 2013. Updated 2013 by Sig Gissler.
  4. "The Medal". Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  5. 1 2 Entry Form For a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism Pulitzer.org
  6. Abad-Santos, Alexander (June 26, 2012). "Journalists, Please Stop Saying You Were 'Pulitzer Prize-Nominated'". what matters now. the Atlantic wire.
  7. Morris, James McGrath (2010). Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power. New York, NY: HarperCollins. p. 461. ISBN 978-0-06-079870-3. Retrieved Sep 12, 2011.
  8. Reardon, Patrick T (June 8, 1997). "A Parade of Pulitzers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 27, 2013. for more than two decades [...] the Tribune refused to compete for the awards.
  9. Epstein, Joseph (August 1997). "The Colonel and the Lady" (PDF). Commentary. p. 48. He viewed the Pulitzer Prize as a 'mutual admiration society,' and hence not to be taken seriously.
  10. http://www.pulitzer.org/search/william%2520snyder
  11. http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/washington-post-notably-work-katherine-boo
  12. http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/news-observer-raleigh-nc-work-melanie-sill-pat-stith-and-joby-warrick
  13. http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/detroit-free-press-staff-and-notably-jim-schaefer-and-ml-elrick
  14. http://www.pulitzer.org/page/2017-journalism-submission-guidelines-requirements-and-faqs
  15. 1 2 "Pulitzer Board Widens Range of Online Journalism in Entries" (Press release). Pulitzer Prize Board. November 27, 2006. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  16. "Pulitzer Prizes Broadened to Include Online-Only Publications Primarily Devoted to Original News Reporting" (Press release). Pulitzer Prize Board. December 8, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  17. http://www.pulitzer.org/news/expanded-eligibility-three-journalism-categories
  18. http://www.pulitzer.org/prize-winners-by-year/2016
  19. http://www.pulitzer.org/news/pulitzer-prizes-open-all-journalism-categories-magazines
  20. http://www.pulitzer.org/news/elizabeth-alexander-elected-pulitzer-prize-board
  21. Topping, Seymour (2008). "Pulitzer biography". The Pulitzer Prizes. Columbia University. Retrieved September 13, 2011. Updated 2013 by Sig Gissler.
  22. Hohenberg, John. The Pulitzer Diaries: Inside America's Greatest Prize. 1997. p. 109.
  23. McDowell, Edwin. "Publishing: Pulitzer Controversies". The New York Times, May 11, 1984: C26.
  24. Fein, Esther B. (March 3, 1993). "Book Notes". The New York Times.
  25. (1978, September 21). "Judge Rules "Roots" Original", Associated Press
  26. (1978, September 22). "Suit against Alex Haley is dismissed", United Press International
  27. Bozell, Brent (April 22, 2007). "Pulitzers' liberal legacy". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  28. Hagey, Keach (October 4, 2010). "Kathleen Parker: 'Smallish-town girl' hits cable". Politico. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  29. Yong Z. Volz; Francis LF Lee (August 30, 2012). "Who wins the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting? Cumulative advantage and social stratification in journalism". Journalism. doi:10.1177/1464884912455905. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  30. Kelly Burdick (October 18, 2012). "New study says women may need connections to win a Pulitzer". Melville House Publishing. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  31. "Female Pulitzer Prize winners require higher qualifications, study finds". Phys.org. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pulitzer Prize.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Listen to this article (info/dl)

This audio file was created from a revision of the "Pulitzer Prize" article dated 2005-04-13, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/19/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.