Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize is given to individuals with considerable achievement in publishing in a newspaper, magazine, or online journal within the United States of America. The Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917 by the will of Joseph Pulitzer. He was known to have made a fortune as a newspaper publisher. Columbia University administers the Pulitzer Prize.

This article will discuss Pulitzer Prize in the context of the IAS Exam.

The candidates can go through the relevant topics useful for their upcoming exams from the links provided below:

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Who is awarded a Pulitzer Prize and How to Enter?

  • The Pulitzer Prize is given for 22 categories, and the prize is announced during the spring season. The Pulitzer Prize competition receives more than 2,500 submissions each year, but only 21 winners are selected. Each of the 22 categories is represented by three eminent jurors, who serve on separate juries for the duration of the year-long procedure.
  • Each award category has three nominations made by the jury, and the board selects the Pulitzer Prize winners in a voting system where a majority vote from the nominations over 75% wins the award. The board can also vote to decline issuing an award. None of the people who are part of the board and journalism jurors are paid for their work.

History of The Pulitzer Prize

Joseph Pulitzer was a newspaper publisher who gave all his money to Columbia University to build a journalism school, later establishing the Pulitzer Prizes. Initially, the Pulitzer Prize was awarded in the following categories, namely, letters, drama education, and travel scholarships. Until 1975, the prizes were taken care of by the members of the Columbia University Trust.

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Categories of Pulitzer Prizes

The Pulitzer Prize 2022 has several individual categories, from journalism to letter and drama to music. The most recognized prizes are in journalism, instituted by a journalist. The Pulitzer Prize categories as per the latest affiliations are as follows:

  • Public Service – This prize is given to two people who have shown exemplary public service through journalistic resources. Among all the Pulitzer Prizes, this is the only one given in the form of a gold medal.
  • Breaking News Reporting – This award is given to someone who reports breaking news as quickly as possible while capturing minute details about the event meticulously. Over time, they also illuminate and keep providing context to add to the initial coverage that was published.
  • Investigative Reporting – This award is given to someone who distinguishes themselves as an example of investigative reporting using any journalistic tool
  • Explanatory Reporting – This is a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that can lighten a significant and complex subject. It is also gifted for demonstrating complete mastery of the subject using lucid writing and crystal clear presentation with any journalistic tool.
  • Feature Writing is the award given for outstanding examples in the domain while giving prime consideration to complete originality and making the piece concise.
  • Commentary – No journalistic award is complete without a prize for a distinguished commentary.
  • Criticism – This prize is given to healthy criticism using any available journalistic tool.
  • Editorial Writing – This prize is given for distinguished editorial writing, which focuses on clarity of style and the moral purpose of the editorial. The other factors considered are sound reasoning and the effective use of power to influence public opinion.
  • Editorial Cartooning – This category mostly judges a journalistic piece for a cartoon or a portfolio of cartoons characterized with originality and efficient visual effect.
  • Breaking News Photography – This category mainly judges a distinguished example of breaking news photography in both colour and black and white. It was previously known as Spot News Photography.

Other prizes are awarded for six categories in letter and drama – fiction, drama, history, biography or autobiography, poetry, and general non-fiction.

List of Pulitzer Prize winners in 2021

Here is a list of Pulitzer Prize winners in 2021 which is tabled below:

Pulitzer Prize winners in 2021




Public service

The New York Times


Wesley Morris of The New York Times

Editorial writing

Robert Greene of the Los Angeles Times

International Reporting

Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing and Christo Buschek of BuzzFeed News

Breaking News Reporting

Staff of the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn.

Investigative Reporting

Matt Rocheleau, Vernal Coleman, Laura Crimaldi, Evan Allen and Brendan McCarthy of The Boston Globe

Explanatory Reporting

Andrew Chung, Lawrence Hurley, Andrea Januta, Jaimi Dowdell and Jackie Botts of Reuters

Local Reporting

Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi of the Tampa Bay Times

National Reporting

Staffs of The Marshall Project; AL.com, Birmingham; IndyStar, Indianapolis; and the Invisible Institute, Chicago

Feature Writing

Mitchell S. Jackson, freelance contributor, Runner’s World


Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch

Breaking News Photography

Photography Staff of Associated Press

Feature Photography

Emilio Morenatti of Associated Press

Audio Reporting

Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little of National Public Radio

Editorial Cartooning

No award given





The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich


The Hot Wing King, by Katori Hall


Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, by Marcia Chatelain (Liveright/Norton)

Biography or autobiography

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne


Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

General non-fiction

Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino


Stride, by Tania León (Peermusic Classical)

Special Citation

Darnella Frazier, The teenager who recorded the killing of George Floyd




Special Awards and Citations

Darnella Frazier


While the Pulitzer is an American award, several notable people worldwide in art and political sciences have received this distinguished award. Many people all over the world strive hard to achieve this award.

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For more information about upcoming Government Exams, visit the linked article. More exam-related preparation materials will be found through the links given below:

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LBSNAA – Bharat Darshan: IAS Training In Detail


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