The Pulitzer Prizes


Anna Jackson, Writer

The Pulitzer Prizes are awarded to the best pieces of journalism, literary achievement, and music composition. It is considered to be the nation’s highest honor to receive in the literature department. The 2023 winners have just been announced:


Top books: 

  • Demon Copperhead
  • Trust
  • Stay True


Investigative Journalism: 

  • Wall Street Journal


Breaking News Reporting:

  • Los Angeles Times


International Reporting: 

  • New York Times



  • Omar


These awards were created by Joseph Pulitzer, who laid the foundation for American journalism. When he died, he wrote in his will that he wanted awards to be given out to the top American journalism, book, drama, education, and 5 traveling scholarships. Over the years changes have been made to the prize categories, and they have expanded. 

Unfortunately, lots of criticism surrounds the prizes, as the board of directors often chooses the same winners, such as the New York Time, LA Times, and Washington State Post. 

There have been a few exceptions given to smaller newspaper companies. In 2005, the investigative reporting award went to a small Oregon Newspaper, called Willamette Creek, for revealing that a former governor was having an affair with a 14 year old girl.

In 2008, one of the photography awards was given to a photo, capturing a families struggle, with a parent’s terminal illness.

Despite all the criticism the board of directors’ decisions are secret until the day they are released, and even then, they refuse to argue with people about their decisions. Most books that are chosen never even made it to the best-sellers list, and many people argue that books that made it to the New York Times best sellers should be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. 

There are also lots of people who don’t like the Pulitzer Prize because they think that it is just another journalism award. And there are a ton of journalism awards. 

As Jack Shafer, a journalist for Politico states, “Most journalists can refer to themselves as “prize winning” in their biographical notes because prizes seem to outnumber journalists these days.”

There are awards for innovative journalism, human interest journalism, superior journalism, science journalism, data journalism, political journalism, food journalism, travel journalism, sports journalism, and many more. However the Pulitzer Prize is the highest award possible in literature, and is an honor to earn one. 


  • The New York Times has won 132 Pulitzers
  • The first prize was awarded in 1917 to the book, With Americans Past and Present Days
  • Winners receive $15,000
  •  Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African- American to receive the prize, with her book Annie Allen
  • John F. Kennedy was the only president to win with his book, Profiles in Courage
  • The prizes are awarded at Columbia University