The Pulitzer Prize is an award given in the United States for achievements in magazines, newspapers, musical compositions and literature. The first Pulitzer award was presented in 1917 by the trustees of Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are in the form of certificates, cash award and a gold medal. French Ambassador Jean Jules Jusserand was the first Pulitzer Prize winner who won $2,000 for his book on American history and Herbert Bayard Swope won the $ 1,000 prize for reporting in 1917.
The administration of Pulitzer Prize awards prizes in Journalism and Arts across 21 categories every year in April, and $ 250,000 cash prizes and scholarships are allocated for this purpose. Joseph Pulitzer himself being an accomplished newspaper publisher was the first to suggest training for journalists at the University level in the school of journalism. It was his farsightedness and visionary acumen that led to the Pulitzer prizes for literature, music, drama and journalism. Each year 2,000 submissions are considered for 21 awards by the Pulitzer Prize Board with 100 judges on the board.
Here we will discuss the success stories of some of the Pulitzer Prize winners. One such award winner was Julia Keller the cultural critic and reporter of “Tribune” who won the award for feature writing. She had given a meticulous and vivid description of the 2004 tornado in Utica. Her story was published consecutively for three days reconstructing the disaster that killed eight people. Another award winner was David wood the senior military correspondent of “Huffington Post” who literally spent years covering war. His extensive reports about wounded veterans and their families in a ten part series “Beyond the Battlefield ”won him the Pulitzer award in National Reporting. This was a great honor for David’s exceptional journalism as well as HuffPost’s commitment in giving original reports.
Margaret Michelle’s novel “Gone with the Wind” a romantic book set during the civil war earned her the Pulitzer’s award making her an instant celebrity. Though this was her only novel later made into a movie, it sold 30 million copies all over the world and translated into 27 languages. Michelle was earlier working with Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine writing articles, but became an overnight celebrity with her novel.
The first female Fortune 500 CEO Katherine Graham won the Pulitzer award in 1997 for her best- selling autobiography “Personal History”. She was the publisher of “The Washington Post” getting the paper to the forefront nationally in the second half of the twentieth century. She was running a successful publishing empire and in no time became a role model for women in male dominated fields. After the death of her husband, she took over and made The Post, one of the most reputed newspapers in the US.
Arthur Miller one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century won the Pulitzer Award for his play “Death of a Salesman”. His other well known plays are ‘The Crucible”, “All my Sons” and “A View from the Bridge”. He studied from the University of Michigan before he started writing dramas for the stage that are still being re-staged internationally.
Winning a Pulitzer award is thus a thing of repute making the winner an instant celebrity. In2016 the New Yorker became the first magazine to win the Pulitzer award for journalism in both criticism category as well as feature writing.