Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Pulitzer Prizes 2005

One of the arts world's most prestigious prizes has been announced for 2005. The Pulitzer Prizes reward excellence in some 21 categories ranging from Drama, Fiction and Poetry to journalism specific awards such as Breaking News Reporting, Feature Writing and Feature Photography. The Pulitzer Prizes were first awarded in 1917. The idea for the awards, and the funding, had been established in the will of the notable American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911). He beqeathed $2m to Columbia to establish a School of Journalism, one quarter of which was to go towards his vision of set of awards that would be an incentive to excellence in the fields of journalism and letters. The awards are administered by the Pulitzer Prize Board, which has since expanded the range of awards to its current 21 categories. The board comprises over 100 distinguished judges who serve on 20 separate juries. The names of the jury members are kept secret every year until after the announcement of the winners. The Board has maintained a consistent stance of refusing to publicly debate or defend its decisions on particular awards, despite the often critical commentary that inevitably follows such a subjective decision. The Board has also resisted the attractions (in terms of publicity as well as financial) of turning the awards ceremony into a media event. Rather, the winners receive their prizes in a modest luncheon at Columbia University. In so doing, they maintain the academic probity and unique character of these world famous awards.