An organization that is well-known for advocating for writing is the Pulitzer Prize. Even though we hear about it often, it isn’t always clear just what it does to help advocate for writing. As it turns out, the Pulitzer Prize was started in 1917 by publisher Joseph Pulitzer who left the funds to start it in his will. Today, it awards achievements in newspaper, online journalism, literature, and music composition. Through the monetary awards it gives out, the gold medal recognition and the many categories it awards, the Pulitzer encourages writers to continue their work and makes writing more visible to others.
One thing that the Pulitzer Prize offers to writers is a monetary award to those selected as winners. Only one winner is selected among the 21 different categories that are awarded. These winners each receive $10,000 in cash and a certificate. Winners can advertise this certificate and include the announcement that they are Pulitzer prize winners. There is also a publication that comes out each year naming each of the winners and gaining them additional exposure to the world. Winning a Pulitzer is considered a very prestigious award. Along with the winners, this publication may also list the nominees. Nominees are finalists that have been selected from among the entrants to the contest. Anyone can enter for a fee of $50, but only the judges can name nominees.
One organization each year can be awarded the Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service. This award is always given to a news organization but an individual writer within that organization can be named in the citation if they played a major role in the direction the publication went to receive this award. It is awarded “for disinterested and meritorious public service rendered by an American newspaper during the year.” The medal has very distinctive modeling on it, featuring Ben Franklin on one side and the image of a printer working at a printing press on the other side. When the award is given, the Franklin side will feature the name of the newspaper winning the award and the back side features the year that they won. Possession of the gold coin is also a big boost in the reputation of the organization.
In addition to supporting writers with monetary support and quality recognition, the Pulitzer also brings attention to the many different types of writing for people who are not necessarily writers. It awards prizes in 21 different categories divided among two major groups – Journalism and Letters. The smaller categories in journalism include beat reporting, breaking news photography, breaking news reporting, commentary, correspondence, criticism, editorial cartooning, editorial writing, explanatory journalism, explanatory reporting, feature photography, feature writing, general news reporting, international reporting, investigative reporting, local general or spot news reporting, local investigative specialized reporting, local reporting, local reporting – edition time, local reporting – no edition time, national reporting, newspaper history award, photography, public service, reporting, specialized reporting, spot news photography, spot news reporting, telegraphic reporting – international, telegraphic reporting – national. The Letters category includes biography or autobiography, drama, fiction, general nonfiction, history, music, novel and poetry.