"You can zero in on important community issues, drawing on your local expertise and insight to produce persuasive editorials," Paul Tash writes, citing the standard for the $5,000 prize: "clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning, and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceives to be the right direction."
Only 54 people put in for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing. No Pulitzer was given for editorial writing in 2012 and 2008, showing that major newspapers often fall short of the standard. Bernard Stein of the weekly Riverdale Press of New York City won in 1998, and Albert Scardino of the weekly Georgia Gazette won in 1984. Roger Linscott of The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass., and Paul Greenberg of the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial won in 1972 and 1969, respectively, for editorials on various subjects, showing that the winner does not have to mount an editorial crusade or work for a large newspaper.
No item about rural editors winning Pulitzers would be complete without mention of Hazel Brannon Smith, who won in 1964 but lost her newspaper "for steadfast adherence to her editorial duty in the face of great pressure and opposition" to her support of civil rights in Mississippi; Buford Boone of the Tuscaloosa News, who won in 1957 for "fearless and reasoned editorials in a community inflamed by a segregation issue," and Hodding Carter Sr. of the Delta Democrat-Times of Greenville, Miss., who won in 1946 for editorials about racial, religious and economic intolerance.
The deadline to enter 2013 editorials for the 2014 prize is Jan. 25. More information is here.