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)