The coveted Pulitzer Prize for journalism has been awarded on Monday and the admired Philadelphia Inquirer won the prestigious public service medal. Other than the public service medial, national reporting prize was given to the 7-year-old Huffington Post honoring its exploration of the challenges that confront wounded U.S. service members.
The 96th annual Pulitzer award announcements took place at the Columbia University. Quite interestingly no award was given this year for editorial writing and, more shockingly, none for fictional writing. It's been 35 years since the Pulitzer board chose not to present a fiction prize. Nobody knows the reason behind this strange statistic.
Pulitzer Prize is a highly revered U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It is handed over to those journalists who have made a significant contribution and their work outclasses works of many others.
Historically the Pulitzer Prize was established by American (Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer in the year 1917 and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. There are a good 21 categories for which awards are distributed and in twenty of these, each winner receives a certificate and a US$10,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal, which always goes to a newspaper, although an individual may be named for his hard work and special contribution. This year the coveted title of the public service medal has been handed over to Philadelphia Inquirer and it’s a matter of immense pride for the publication.
The Inquirer's win for "Assault on Learning" was a great achievement by the team. Their newspaper has been through major ups and downs, five owners have been replaced in six years. They had to downsize and employees have been laid off since 1999, the number has reduced from 620 to 21 but their resilience had borne fruit for them.
Inquirer Editor Stan Wischnowski said his staff "has not been this happy in years."
Other than the major awards a couple of other renowned newspapers and publications were also recognized at the Pulitzer Prize awards. These include the Arianna Huffington-founded website that won in a digital reporting category and the Washington-based site Politico, which won a prize for Matt Wuerker's editorial cartooning.
The Pennsylvania State University and the New York Times won awards for international reporting and explanatory reporting.