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Sept. 26, 2013, 9:58 a.m.
LINK: www.pulitzer.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   September 26, 2013

That’s according to this open letter to news organizations from Paul Tash, the board’s chair and chief executive of the Tampa Bay Times:

For 97 years, the Pulitzer Prizes have recognized excellence in American editorial writing. It’s a proud and robust tradition. Vividly expressing the institutional opinion of publications large and small, the winners have engaged a marvelous range of issues, stirring debate and often having an important impact on society — from Main Street to the White House.

With that in mind, we want to renew our dedication to high-quality editorial writing and to seek broader participation in the category, especially among small and medium-size newspapers and news sites. We want to hear your voices.

Tash notes that the field wasn’t particularly crowded last year (just 54 entries) and that successful entries need not be an organized editorial campaign that leads to a new law or some other reform. “Above all, we want editorials that are persuasive — memorable, well-crafted pieces that use facts, sound logic and engaging prose to influence and advance public debate, that get people to see things differently,” Tash writes.

For Nieman Lab readers, the call for more entries from news sites is probably most interesting. The Pulitzer board has allowed online-only entrants for several years now, and a number have won. Some details about eligibility are here, but broadly speaking, if you run a U.S.-based news site that publishes at least weekly, isn’t attached to a broadcast outlet, and doesn’t consider itself a “magazine,” you’re probably eligible to enter.

But one important note: The Editorial Writing category is for entries “written in the name of the newspaper or news entity,” not that of an individual writer. For opinion pieces written by individuals as individuals — metro columns, op-ed columns, or bylined posts from an opinionated political blog, for instance — you’d probably want to enter in the Commentary category, not Editorial Writing. (Disclosure: I served on the Commentary jury last year.)

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