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More on the Pulitzer Prize Panel

Posted by Zach Parolin on September 11, 2008

Earlier today, fellow freshman Sam Butterfield provided an excellent, accurate synopsis of the words of former Pulitzer winners Jacqui Banaszynski, Steve Fainaru, James Grimaldi, Jeff Leen, Mike McGraw, James Steele and Seymour Topping. As Sam expressed, receiving the opportunity to witness their words was an incredibly humbling experience.

With over a dozen of the industry’s most prestigious awards between them, the panelists spoke about how their own Pulitzer experiences came about, referencing the career changes that ensued and the stories that made them all possible. With the amount of attention and respect that this award demands, it is important to understand how the recognition process works. 

There are 14 categories for which a Pulitzer Prize may be awarded. These categories range from public service to editorial cartooning, with, of course, the many subcategories of news writing in between. For each category, there is a selected jury that reads over submitted material. The jury is only allowed to send three selections from its category to Pulitzer Board, which ultimately determines the single winner. There were 1,167 submissions this year in all categories.

As some of the panelists explained, the “bigger” newspapers don’t necessarily have a better shot at having a reporter win a Pulitzer, but they are generally able to provide more resources for their reporters, enabling them to research more effectively and, consequently, write a better story.

Photo by: Emily Becker.


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