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Definition: Pulitzer prizes from Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable

Prizes for literary work, journalism, drama and music, which are awarded annually from funds left for the purpose by the Hungarian-born American newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911). The prizes are administered by the trustees of Columbia University and were first awarded in 1917.


Summary Article: Pulitzer Prizes
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

annual awards for achievements in American journalism, letters, and music. The prizes are paid from the income of a fund left by Joseph Pulitzer to the trustees of Columbia Univ. They have been awarded each May since 1917 on the recommendation of an advisory board comprising journalists, the president of the university, with the dean of the graduate school of journalism as secretary. Fourteen awards are given in journalism—$5,000 each for general news reporting, for investigative reporting, for national reporting, for international correspondence, for editorial writing, for editorial cartooning, and for spot news photography, feature photography, commentary, criticism, feature writing, explanatory journalism, specialized reporting (sports, business, science, education, or religion), and a gold medal for distinguished and meritorious public service in journalism. Special citations may also be presented for journalistic excellence and initiative in other categories. The prizes in letters, of $5,000 each, are for fiction, nonfiction, drama, history, biography, and poetry; works with American themes are preferred. The $5,000 musical composition award was added in 1943. Of four traveling scholarships (of $5,000 each), three are to graduates of the Columbia school of journalism and one is for a journalism student for criticism. Pulitzer directed that the winners "study social, political, and moral conditions of the people and the character and principles of the foreign press."

  • See studies by W. J. Stuckey (1966) and J. Hohenberg (1997).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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