Pulitzer Expansion Impacts Storytelling, Creates Opportunities for Organizations


In a time when we gather news from a growing number of sources, including blogs; online news organizations; broadcast outlets, etc., the Pulitzer Prize board established some new rules that will give certain news outlets additional credibility by announcing that it will expand eligibility for investigative reporting and feature writing awards to weekly magazines and “partner organizations.”

Motivation for this decision came after the shake-up between ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity in April, when ABC News claimed that it had contributed to the success of a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative report but received no recognition. This lack of recognition stemmed from the television network not being considered eligible for the Pulitzer Prize even though it had contributed to a winning story. The board decided that in the future, a television network can now be nominated as a “partner organization.”

As strategic communications professionals, we are now in a position where – through the broadening of eligible outlets – the stories we pitch can potentially lead to Pulitzer Prizes for newly designated “partner organizations” and weekly magazines. These outlets are, in many ways, are filling enterprise reporting roles that budget-constrained newspapers can no longer fill, increasing the chances that unique stories can be brought to light and potentially growing the audience for those stories. This gives organizations, and people who work in public relations, a powerful new opportunity that has never been available before. With that opportunity, however, also comes an extra level of consideration and responsibility for how we frame narratives and help clients tell their stories. Not every story will merit Pulitzer-level reporting, of course, but the increase of Pulitzer-eligible applicants could have a significant impact on newsmakers and consumers of news as well.