Рефераты. Pulizer Prize

Pulizer Prize

Министерство образования и науки Украины

Таврический национальный университет

Им. В.И. Вернадского

Факультет иностранной филологии

Кафедра английской филологии

Гура Егор Николаевич

Реферат на тему: «The Pulitzer Prize»

Дисциплина «Лингвострановедение»

Специальность 7.030502

«английский и немецкий языки и литература»

курс 4, группа 42

Симферополь 2001


History of the prizes


Joseph Pulitzer


The Administration of the Pulitzer Prizes




The list of used resources



In the latter years of the 19th century, Joseph Pulitzer stood out as the

very embodiment of American journalism. Hungarian-born, an intense

indomitable figure, Pulitzer was the most skillful of newspaper publishers,

a passionate crusader against dishonest government, a fierce, hawk-like

competitor who did not shrink from sensationalism in circulation struggles,

and a visionary who richly endowed his profession. His innovative New York

World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reshaped newspaper journalism. Pulitzer

was the first to call for the training of journalists at the university

level in a school of journalism. And certainly, the lasting influence of

the Pulitzer Prizes on journalism, literature, music, and drama is to be

attributed to his visionary acumen. In writing his 1904 will, which made

provision for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes as an incentive to

excellence, Pulitzer specified solely four awards in journalism, four in

letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships. In

letters, prizes were to go to an American novel, an original American play

performed in New York, a book on the history of the United States, an

American biography, and a history of public service by the press. But,

sensitive to the dynamic progression of his society Pulitzer made provision

for broad changes in the system of awards. He established an overseer

advisory board and willed it "power in its discretion to suspend or to

change any subject or subjects, substituting, however, others in their

places, if in the judgment of the board such suspension, changes, or

substitutions shall be conducive to the public good or rendered advisable

by public necessities, or by reason of change of time." He also empowered

the board to withhold any award where entries fell below its standards of

excellence. The assignment of power to the board was such that it could

also overrule the recommendations for awards made by the juries

subsequently set up in each of the categories. Since the inception of the

prizes in 1917, the board, later renamed the Pulitzer Prize Board, has

increased the number of awards to 21 and introduced poetry, music, and

photography as subjects, while adhering to the spirit of the founder's will

and its intent.

The board typically exercised its broad discretion in 1997, the 150th

anniversary of Pulitzer's birth, in two fundamental respects. It took a

significant step in recognition of the growing importance of work being

done by newspapers in online journalism. Beginning with the 1999

competition, the board sanctioned the submission by newspapers of online

presentations as supplements to print exhibits in the Public Service

category. The board left open the distinct possibility of further

inclusions in the Pulitzer process of online journalism as the electronic

medium developed. The other major change was in music, a category that was

added to the Plan of Award for prizes in 1943. The prize always had gone to

composers of classical music. The definition and entry requirements of the

music category beginning with the 1998 competition were broadened to

attract a wider range of American music. In an indication of the trend

toward bringing mainstream music into the Pulitzer process, the 1997 prize

went to Wynton Marsalis's "Blood on the Fields," which has strong jazz

elements, the first such award. In music, the board also took tacit note of

the criticism leveled at its predecessors for failure to cite two of the

country's foremost jazz composers. It bestowed a Special Award on George

Gershwin marking the 1998 centennial celebration of his birth and Duke

Ellington on his 1999 centennial year.

Over the years the Pulitzer board has at times been targeted by critics for

awards made or not made. Controversies also have arisen over decisions made

by the board counter to the advice of juries. Given the subjective nature

of the award process, this was inevitable. The board has not been captive

to popular inclinations. Many, if not most, of the honored books have not

been on bestseller lists, and many of the winning plays have been staged

off-Broadway or in regional theaters. In journalism the major newspapers,

such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington

Post, have harvested many of the awards, but the board also has often

reached out to work done by small, little-known papers. The Public Service

award in 1995 went to The Virgin Islands Daily News, St. Thomas, for its

disclosure of the links between the region's rampant crime rate and

corruption in the local criminal justice system. In letters, the board has

grown less conservative over the years in matters of taste. In 1963 the

drama jury nominated Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but

the board found the script insufficiently "uplifting," a complaint that

related to arguments over sexual permissiveness and rough dialogue. In 1993

the prize went to Tony Kushner's "Angels in America: Millennium

Approaches," a play that dealt with problems of homosexuality and AIDS and

whose script was replete with obscenities. On the same debated issue of

taste, the board in 1941 denied the fiction prize to Ernest Hemingway's For

Whom the Bell Tolls, but gave him the award in 1953 for The Old Man and the

Sea, a lesser work. Notwithstanding these contretemps, from its earliest

days, the board has in general stood firmly by a policy of secrecy in its

deliberations and refusal to publicly debate or defend its decisions. The

challenges have not lessened the reputation of the Pulitzer Prizes as the

country's most prestigious awards and as the most sought-after accolades in

journalism, letters, and music. The Prizes are perceived as a major

incentive for high-quality journalism and have focused worldwide attention

on American achievements in letters and music.

The formal announcement of the prizes, made each April, states that the

awards are made by the president of Columbia University on the

recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize board. This formulation is derived

from the Pulitzer will, which established Columbia as the seat of the

administration of the prizes. Today, in fact, the independent board makes

all the decisions relative to the prizes. In his will Pulitzer bestowed an

endowment on Columbia of $2,000,000 for the establishment of a School of

Journalism, one-fourth of which was to be "applied to prizes or

scholarships for the encouragement of public, service, public morals,

American literature, and the advancement of education." In doing so, he

stated: "I am deeply interested in the progress and elevation of

journalism, having spent my life in that profession, regarding it as a

noble profession and one of unequaled importance for its influence upon the

minds and morals of the people. I desire to assist in attracting to this

profession young men of character and ability, also to help those already

engaged in the profession to acquire the highest moral and intellectual

training." In his ascent to the summit of American journalism, Pulitzer

himself received little or no assistance. He prided himself on being a self-

made man, but it may have been his struggles as a young journalist that

imbued him with the desire to foster professional training.


Joseph Pulitzer was born in Mako, Hungary on April 10, 1847, the son of a

wealthy grain merchant of Magyar-Jewish origin and a German mother who was

a devout Roman Catholic. His younger brother, Albert, was trained for the

priesthood but never attained it. The elder Pulitzer retired in Budapest

and Joseph grew up and was educated there in private schools and by tutors.

Restive at the age of seventeen, the gangling 6'2" youth decided to become

a soldier and tried in turn to enlist in the Austrian Army, Napoleon's

Foreign Legion for duty in Mexico, and the British Army for service in

India. He was rebuffed because of weak eyesight and frail health, which

were to plague him for the rest of his life. However, in Hamburg, Germany,

he encountered a bounty recruiter for the U.S. Union Army and contracted to

enlist as a substitute for a draftee, a procedure permitted under the Civil

War draft system. At Boston he jumped ship and, as the legend goes, swam to

shore, determined to keep the enlistment bounty for himself rather than

leave it to the agent. Pulitzer collected the bounty by enlisting for a

year in the Lincoln Cavalry, which suited him since there were many

Germans in the unit. He was fluent in German and French but spoke very

little English. Later, he worked his way to St. Louis. While doing odd jobs

there, such as muleteer, baggage handler, and waiter, he immersed himself

in the city's Mercantile Library, studying English and the law. His great

career opportunity came in a unique manner in the library's chess room.

Observing the game of two habitues, he astutely critiqued a move and the

players, impressed, engaged Pulitzer in conversation. The players were

editors of the leading German language daily, Westliche Post, and a job

offer followed. Four years later, in 1872, the young Pulitzer, who had

built a reputation as a tireless enterprising journalist, was offered a

controlling interest in the paper by the nearly bankrupt owners. At age 25,

Pulitzer became a publisher and there followed a series of shrewd business

deals from which he emerged in 1878 as the owner of the St. Louis Post-

Dispatch, and a rising figure on the journalistic scene.

Earlier in the same year, he and Kate Davis, a socially prominent

Washingtonian woman, were married in the Protestant Episcopal Church. The

Hungarian immigrant youth - once a vagrant on the slum streets of St. Louis

and taunted as "Joey the Jew" - had been transformed. Now he was a American

citizen and as speaker, writer, and editor had mastered English

extraordinarily well. Elegantly dressed, wearing a handsome, reddish-brown

beard and pince-nez glasses, he mixed easily with the social elite of St.

Louis, enjoying dancing at fancy parties and horseback riding in the park.

This lifestyle was abandoned abruptly when he came into the ownership of

the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. James Wyman Barrett, the last city editor of

The New York World, records in his biography Joseph Pulitzer and His World

how Pulitzer, in taking hold of the Post-Dispatch, "worked at his desk from

early morning until midnight or later, interesting himself in every detail

of the paper." Appealing to the public to accept that his paper was their

champion, Pulitzer splashed investigative articles and editorials assailing

government corruption, wealthy tax-dodgers, and gamblers. This populist

appeal was effective, circulation mounted, and the paper prospered.

Pulitzer would have been pleased to know that in the conduct of the

Pulitzer Prize system which he later established, more awards in journalism

would go to exposure of corruption than to any other subject.

Pulitzer paid a price for his unsparingly rigorous work at his newspaper.

His health was undermined and, with his eyes failing, Pulitzer and his wife

set out in 1883 for New York to board a ship on a doctor-ordered European

vacation. Stubbornly, instead of boarding the steamer in New York, he met

with Jay Gould, the financier, and negotiated the purchase of The New York

World, which was in financial straits. Putting aside his serious health

concerns, Pulitzer immersed himself in its direction, bringing about what

Barrett describes as a "one-man revolution" in the editorial policy,

content, and format of The World. He employed some of the same techniques

that had built up the circulation of the Post-Dispatch. He crusaded against

public and private corruption, filled the news columns with a spate of

sensationalized features, made the first extensive use of illustrations,

and staged news stunts. In one of the most successful promotions, The World

raised public subscriptions for the building of a pedestal at the entrance

to the New York harbor so that the Statue of Liberty, which was stranded in

France awaiting shipment, could be emplaced.

The formula worked so well that in the next decade the circulation of The

World in all its editions climbed to more than 600,000, and it reigned as

the largest circulating newspaper in the country. But unexpectedly Pulitzer

himself became a victim of the battle for circulation when Charles Anderson

Dana, publisher of The Sun, frustrated by the success of The World launched

vicious personal attacks on him as "the Jew who had denied his race and

religion." The unrelenting campaign was designed to alienate New York's

Jewish community from The World. Pulitzer's health was fractured further

during this ordeal and in 1890, at the age of 43, he withdrew from the

editorship of The World and never returned to its newsroom. Virtually

blind, having in his severe depression succumbed also to an illness that

made him excruciatingly sensitive to noise, Pulitzer went abroad

frantically seeking cures. He failed to find them, and the next two decades

of his life he spent largely in soundproofed "vaults," as he referred to

them, aboard his yacht, Liberty, in the "Tower of Silence" at his vacation

retreat in Bar Harbor Maine, and at his New York mansion. During those

years, although he traveled very frequently, Pulitzer managed,

nevertheless, to maintain the closest editorial and business direction of

his newspapers. To ensure secrecy in his communications he relied on a code

that filled a book containing some 20,000 names and terms. During the years

1896 to 1898 Pulitzer was drawn into a bitter circulation battle with

William Randolph Hearst's Journal in which there were no apparent

restraints on sensationalism or fabrication of news. When the Cubans

rebelled against Spanish rule, Pulitzer and Hearst sought to outdo each

other in whipping up outrage against the Spanish. Both called for war

against Spain after the U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously blew up and sank

in Havana harbor on February 16, 1898. Congress reacted to the outcry with

a war resolution. After the four-month war, Pulitzer withdrew from what had

become known as "yellow journalism." The World became more restrained and

served as the influential editorial voice on many issues of the Democratic

Party. In the view of historians, Pulitzer's lapse into "yellow journalism"

was outweighed by his public service achievements. He waged courageous and

often successful crusades against corrupt practices in government and

business. He was responsible to a large extent for passage of antitrust

legislation and regulation of the insurance industry. In 1909, The World

exposed a fraudulent payment of $40 million by the United States to the

French Panama Canal Company. The federal government lashed back at The

World by indicting Pulitzer for criminally libeling President Theodore

Roosevelt and the banker J.P. Morgan, among others. Pulitzer refused to

retreat, and The World persisted in its investigation. When the courts

dismissed the indictments, Pulitzer was applauded for a crucial victory on

behalf of freedom of the press. In May 1904, writing in The North American

Review in support of his proposal for the founding of a school of

journalism, Pulitzer summarized his credo: "Our Republic and its press will

rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with

trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve

that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a

mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a

people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the Republic

will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations."

In 1912, one year after Pulitzer's death aboard his yacht, the Columbia

School of Journalism was founded, and the first Pulitzer Prizes were

awarded in 1917 under the supervision of the advisory board to which he had

entrusted his mandate. Pulitzer envisioned an advisory board composed

principally of newspaper publishers. Others would include the president of

Columbia University and scholars, and "persons of distinction who are not

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