Telegraphic reporting was a Pulitzer Prize category (and other trivia you didn't know you didn't know)

As you're combing through this year's Pulitzer Prize winners, here's a look at some Pulitzer history and trivia. The prizes, which were created in 1916 and this year celebrate their centennial edition, have changed in the last century (though maybe not quickly enough).

In addition to the frequently recurring question of how to pronounce Pulitzer, we took a look at some lesser-known details, including categories that no longer exist and one category that only lived for one year. You can explore the data yourself here.

What categories no longer exist?
Sixteen journalism categories are no longer awarded each year. In some cases, they've changed only slightly, including explanatory journalism and spot news photography. Some have evolved, including local reporting. And some became irrelevant because of technology. For example, telegraphic reporting was awarded prizes both nationally and internationally from 1942 through 1947.

Can journalists share a Pulitzer?
Yes, they have many times, but the biggest example came in 1941 with a prize that recognized all foreign correspondence reporting. "In place of an individual Pulitzer Prize for foreign correspondence, the Trustees approved the recommendation of the Advisory Board that a bronze plaque or scroll be designed and executed to recognize and symbolize the public services and the individual achievements of American news reporters in the war zones of Europe, Asia and Africa from the beginning of the present war."

How diverse have winners of the prizes been?
Not that diverse at all.

Among the 14 categories that are still awarded and where a winner was named, 442 prizes were awarded to one or more men and 64 prizes went to one or more women. Thirty-two prizes have gone to both men and women and 143 prizes have gone to staffers. Feature writing is the most gender-balanced of the existing categories. Men have won 21 prizes, and women have won 14. Editorial cartoons, one of the longest-surviving categories, has the least diversity. Eighty-seven men have won in that category, as have just two women.

Have any Pulitzers ever been retracted?
Yes. In 1981, The Washington Post's Janet Cooke was awarded a prize for feature writing. It was retracted two days later when the Post learned it was fabricated.

What are the most frequent words used to justify the awards?
The word "series" was used the most, at 72 times, among explanations from judges on the Pulitzer Prizes' site. Here are a few more:

Reporting: 63 times
Coverage: 52 times
Editorial: 50 times
Editorials: 47 times
Campaign: 42 times
Distinguished: 29 times
American: 28 times
Writing: 27 times
Articles: 26 times
Public: 26 times
Columns: 26 times

What's the shortest-lived award?
The Newspaper History Award, which was awarded just once in 1918.

Can you win as a freelancer? And if you can why have so few done so?

Freelancers occasionally win Pulitzer Prizes, but not at the same rate as journalists from professional news organizations. This may be because institutions have the budget to fund larger teams who are capable of ambitious work across many different disciplines — reporting, editing, graphic design, and web development.

To be considered, freelance work must have been distributed by a news organization eligible to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Many of the freelancers who’ve won Pulitzer Prizes have been photographers. In 2013, Javier Manzano became the first freelance photographer to win the award in 17 years for a photo of two rebel soldiers guarding their sniper’s nest in Aleppo, Syria.

He was preceded in 1996 by Stephanie Welsh and Charles Porter IV, who won for feature Photography and Spot Photography, respectively.

Who has won the most Pulitzers in public service?
The Los Angeles Times has won six. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Times and The Washington Post have all won five Pulitzers in the category.


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