A Pulitzer Prize for Global Journalism

The Pulitzer Prize is the shining medallion for journalists, one that is revered, flaunted, and used to prove one’s contribution to the industry. Yet it is only about America. In the journalism category, newspapers must be U.S. papers; in the letters category, publications must be those published in the US by American authors, the only exception being if you write about US history.

That’s fine. Certainly Pulitzer doesn’t have obligations to cover the entire world, and for literary works, there is the Nobel Prize although it would be nice and more along the lines of true journalism if it weren’t so nationalistic (The Nobel is incomparable to the Pulitzer- far less are given out every year).¬† I just think it’s very sad that the award that has become the staple of recognizing what is good journalism and not is only focusing on the United States. It’s even more disappointing that they are accepting online news but not global news.

You may argue that other countries have their own awards, but no award is internationally renowned as the Pulitzer. In Korea, there is a journalism award, but your publication has to be a member of the Newspaper Association in order for your article to be considered. That is not fair, because a newspaper’s alliance with a labor group is a political decision, which shouldn’t affect decisions in which articles are good or not. Forgive me if I am sour about this because the paper I used to work for was one of the three biggest national papers and we weren’t a part of association (actually seceded from the association but that’s another story).

It is true that journalistic standards, ethics, and such in other countries are in some cases, not on par with U.S. standards. But sometimes they are, and sometimes, there is a lot of excellent reporting. Those efforts should be acknowledged. Newspaper design, for instance, is acknowledged by the Society for News Design, and you can see that a lot of amazing designs come from all around the world.

There are a number of small prizes for a global community, like the Bastiat, Knight Awards, and numerous others, but they all cater to a specific topic or demographic.

It would be wonderful if some organization could begin a global journalism awards that is comprehensive like the Pulitzer. Especially now, with new media endangering quality journalism, such incentives are needed to inspire journalists. Journalists don’t work for money- they never have- all they want is to communicate to the public, hoping their efforts in seking truth will be respected. Journalists are being stripped of their honor and without honor, there is no reason to be a journalist.

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