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You, too, can be nominated for a Pulitzer -- if you have $50

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by inthesuburbs, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Speaking of Bill Plaschke, his bio at the L.A. Times says: "He has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize..."


    Has he?

    His name doesn't show up in a search at the Pulitzer Prizes Web site:


    Was he in fact nominated for a Pulitzer Prize? Maybe as part of a team? He apparently was never nominated individually.

    Yes, in some newsrooms people have always used the word "nominated" to refer to the act of submitting someone on the staff for the prize -- I guess it is some kind of honor to be one of the best columnists at the paper that year, even if you didn't even make the finals of the contest -- but to use that term in public is to mislead.

    As the Pulitzer Prizes board explains, nominees are the same as finalists, the people who got chosen by the jury, but passed over by the board. To quote from the Pulitzer FAQ: "Since 1980, when we began to announce nominated finalists, we have used the term "nominee" for entrants who became finalists. We discourage someone saying he or she was "nominated" for a Pulitzer simply because an entry was sent to us."


    Perhaps Plaschke's bio should say, "He was an entrant in the Pulitzer Prizes, but didn't make the finals."

    It works the same as the Academy Awards: there are hundreds of entrants, a few nominees, and a winner in each category.

    Anybody can be a Pulitzer entrant. You just pay the $50 fee. You can send in your own work if you pay the $50.

    To call yourself a Pulitzer nominee, or a Pulitzer finalist, when you've only been a Pulitzer entrant, is a scam. It's pretending to have been honored.

    Imagine how the LA Times would react to a low-grade actor's press agent claiming that the actor had been nominated for an Academy Award, when the actor was in fact just an entrant, not a nominee.

    If you do a bit of Googling, you'll find reporters and columnists who claim to have been nominated twice, three times, even five times, for a Pulitzer. This sort of fakery is very common in book publishing -- it's the cheapest $50 in public relations.

    Is anyone in your shop falsely claming to be a Pulitzer nominee?
  2. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    I'm surprised it's still $50. It was $50 at least 25 years ago.
  3. Rockbottom

    Rockbottom Active Member

    If they doubled their rack rate, would they make a better profit? (/crossthread).

    I had a writer (whom I consider a friend to this day ...) who did virtually the same thing -- more or less push us to submit him for a Pulitzer twice, cough up the $50, and voila ... A two-time Pulitzer nominee was born!

    Dubious, I say. But I don't write other folks' resumes.

  4. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Had my work submitted by the paper I was working for at the time, many years ago. Frankly, I was embarrassed that they would do that, since my idea of a Pulitzer-worthy story is something the cracks open a sordid situation, topples a corrupt administration or kicks butt every which way on a breaking news event. Nothing against Roger Ebert or Dave Anderson, but getting a "Pulitzer" for sustained column excellence ever has resonated for me.

    Anyway, I was embarrassed when I heard it and too embarrassed to mention it to anyone. Fortunately, I never had to cope with the burden of winning -- never got past that "entrant" stage. Would have thought less of the whole shebang if I had.
  5. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Do you think readers even care about that?

    I've seen some people with "So-and-so is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist" in their column shirttail. Truth be told it should read "So-and-so won a Pulitzer Prize more than 40 years ago and while working at a different newspaper."
  6. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    This reminds me of all the Friday and Saturday nights taking scores and hearing about "All-State candidates."
  7. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Bad enough that we're all allegedly "award-winning," as if that has any meaning at that point.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    So my 8-inch Little League roundup can be "nominated" for a Pulitzer?
  9. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member


    If I had realized this, I could have really padded my resume for post-journalism purposes.
  10. NQLBLQ

    NQLBLQ Member

    Thanks for helping inform a young kid about this at the beginning of his career. I plan on being a Pulitzer Prize nominee next year. Damn, I'm a good writer.
  11. Beer's too expensive these days to be throwing money at silly things such as Pulitzers.
  12. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Got you all beat ... I grabbed one of the bronze "Pulitzer" plaques the company gave its workers when they sold out to Lee!
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