The Pulitzer Prizes may be among the most prestigious of journalism awards, but they are by no means the only ones. There are prizes honoring visual journalism, copy editing, ethics in journalism, student journalism, and many, many more. (The Construction Writers Association, for example, administers yearly awards for feature writing, special reports, and editorials about, yes, the construction industry.)
Many have questioned the worth of such prizes, arguing that they tend to encourage long, prize-friendly series over the less impressive, but still vital, daily reports that news audiences need. But one obvious merit of the Pulitzers and their many counterparts is their overall cultivation of quality journalism: in celebrating journalistic excellence, prizes also encourage it. And, not for nothing, they also define it.
So, in honor of yesterday’s Pulitzer announcement, we ask you: If you suddenly found yourself with a few million dollars with which to endow a journalism prize…what would your award be? Would you invent a new prize for, perhaps, the newspaper or magazine or television industries? Or an award specific to online journalism, or to business model innovations? Overall, what journalistic qualities would your prize strive to stimulate and promote?The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.