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Pulizer Prize
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Journalism. In prior weeks, the board had read the texts of the journalism entries and the 15 nominated books, listened to music cassettes, read the scripts of the nominated plays, and attended the performances or seen videos where possible. By custom, it is incumbent on board members not to vote on any award under consideration in drama or letters if they have not seen the play or read the book. There are subcommittees for letters and music whose members usually give a lead to discussions. Beginning with letters and music, the board, in turn, reviews the nominations of each jury for two days. Each jury is required to offer three nominations but in no order of preference, although the jury chair in a letter accompanying the submission can broadly reflect the views of the members. Board discussions are animated and often hotly debated. Work done by individuals tends to be favored. In journalism, if more than three individuals are cited in an entry, any prize goes to the newspaper. Awards are usually made by majority vote, but the board is also empowered to vote 'no award,' or by three- fourths vote to select an entry that has not been nominated or to switch nominations among the categories. If the board is dissatisfied with the nominations of any jury, it can ask the Administrator to consult with the chair by telephone to ascertain if there are other worthy entries.

Meanwhile, the deliberations continue.

Both the jury nominations and the awards voted by the board are held in strict confidence until the announcement of the prizes, which takes place about a week after the meeting in the World Room. Towards three o'clock p.m. (Eastern Time) of the day of the announcement, in hundreds of newsrooms across the United States, journalists gather about news agency tickers to wait for the bulletins that bring explosions of joy and celebrations to some and disappointment to others. The announcement is made precisely at three o'clock after a news conference held by the administrator in the World Room. Apart from accounts carried prominently by newspapers, television, and radio, the details appear on the Pulitzer Web site. The announcement includes the name of the winner in each category as well as the names of the other two finalists. The three finalists in each category are the only entries in the competition that are recognized by the

Pulitzer office as nominees. The announcement also lists the board members and the names of the jurors (which have previously been kept confidential to avoid lobbying).

A gold medal is awarded to the winner in Public Service. Along with the certificates in the other categories, there are cash awards of $7,500, raised in 2001 from $5,000. Four Pulitzer fellowships of $5,000 each are also awarded annually on the recommendation of the faculty of the School of

Journalism. They enable three of its outstanding graduates to travel, report, and study abroad and one fellowship is awarded to a graduate who wishes to specialize in drama, music, literary, film, or television criticism. For most recipients of the Pulitzer prizes, the cash award is only incidental to the prestige accruing to them and their works. There are numerous competitions that bestow far larger cash awards, yet which do not rank in public perception on a level with the Pulitzers. The Pulitzer accolade on the cover of a book or on the marquee of a theater where a prize-winning play is being staged usually does translate into commercial gain.

The Pulitzer process initially was funded by investment income from the original endowment. But by the 1970s the program was suffering a loss each year. In 1978 the advisory board established a foundation for the creation of a supplementary endowment, and fund raising on its behalf continued through the 1980s. The program is now comfortably funded with investment income from the two endowments and the $50 fee charged for each entry into the competitions. The investment portfolios are administered by Columbia

University. Members of the Pulitzer Prize Board and journalism jurors receive no compensation. The jurors in letters, music, and drama, in appreciation of their year-long work, receive honoraria, raised to $2,000, effective in 1999.

Unlike the elaborate ceremonies and royal banquets attendant upon the presentation of the Nobel Prizes in Stockholm and Oslo, Pulitzer winners receive their prizes from the president of Columbia University at a modest luncheon in May in the rotunda of the Low Library in the presence of family members, professional associates, board members, and the faculty of the

School of Journalism. The board has declined offers to transform the occasion into a television extravaganza.

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