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No Pulitzer Prizes for Information Graphics

Hili Banjo, a student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, points out that "Currently there is no prize in the Pulitzer compeitition for information graphics, although that competition recognizes various forms of writing, reporting, editorial cartooning and photography."

There is a questionnaire about news graphics at this URL, which journalists might well fill out.

-- Edward Tufte

In addition to the well-known Pulitzer prizes, there are countless state and regional press associations that give annual awards in a number of categories. According to my wife, a newspaper editor, many judges take the typography, layout, and supporting graphics into consideration in their deliberations. I don't know how many of the organizations have award categories specifically for information graphics, but they are doubtless fewer than we might hope.

Perhaps a grassroots campaign is in order. When you come across a particularly effective example of graphical information locally produced at a newspaper, identify the appropriate press associations and "nominate" the graphic for a prize. The "nomination" will have no official standing, but if over time the associations receive a notable number of unofficial nominations, they may begin to recognize information graphics as a separate prize category. It might be especially helpful to provide a paragraph or more of constructive criticism along with the nomination.

As I do not know whether the Pulitzer categories are forever fixed, I cannot say whether such a grassroots campaign could percolate up. But it might.

-- Mark L. Hineline (email)

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