OVERVIEW: Maryland Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Activities

Presented by:
Maryland Humanities
Current Initiative: Centennial Campfires National Partner: The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: Colleges and Universities, Nonprofits, Other Subject: History, Journalism, Literacy, Performing Arts Audience: All, Educators, K-12, Young Adult, Youth/Teen

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes, Maryland Humanities developed a variety of programming including a four-part series, sponsored in part by and hosted at The Baltimore Sun, featuring acclaimed journalists in conversation about contemporary issues. The council also partnered with Olney Theatre Center to host a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning play readings and with the University of Maryland, College Park to present a moderated discussion between two Pulitzer Prize winners on the historical context behind their Pulitzer Prize-winning works. Finally, in order to glean an understanding of what the next generation thinks about journalism, the council asked Maryland students what they thought about journalism ethics and collected their responses into an archive on both its and the Pulitzer Prizes’ websites. Learn more about these programs below:

PULITZER PANELS: JOURNALISM & ITS POWER TO INFORM (The Baltimore Sun)

This four-part series, sponsored in part by The Baltimore Sun, featured acclaimed journalists discussing journalism as a voice for the powerless, war and national security, the environment, and the challenges faced by Baltimore.

  • March 8: Voice for the Powerless featuring Liz Bowie, Scott Higham (Pulitzer 2002), and Deborah Nelson (Pulitzer 1997). A total of 31 people attended.
  • March 29: War/Veterans/National Security featuring Dan Fesperman and David Wood (Pulitzer 2012). A total of 42 people attended.
  • April 19: Challenges Faced by Baltimore featuring Justin Fenton, Erica Green, E.R. Shipp (Pulitzer 1996), and Diana Sugg (Pulitzer 2003). A total of 66 people attended.
  • May 10: The Environment featuring Will Englund (Pulitzer 1998), McKay Jenkins, John McQuaid (Pulitzer 1997, 2006), and Elizabeth McGowan (Pulitzer 2013). A total of 60 people attended.

PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING DRAMA: GRAB A SEAT AND ENJOY A SHOW (Olney Theatre Center)

In collaboration with Maryland Humanities, Olney Theatre Center presented a three-day festival of staged readings of Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, including Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, D.L. Coburn’s The Gin Game, August Wilson’s Fences, and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, among others. This program was supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Montgomery College.

  • September 30: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Pulitzer 1948), 164 attendees
  • October 1: Fences by August Wilson (Pulitzer 1987). A total of 119 attended
  • October 1: Fiorello! by George Abbott, Jerome Weidman, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Pulitzer 1960) A total of 235 attended.
  • October 1: The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn (Pulitzer 1978). A total of 120 attended.
  • October 2: Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes (Pulitzer 2012) a total of 109 attended.
  • October 2: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Derek Goldman, adapted from Thornton Wilder’s novel (Pulitzer 1928) A total of 140 attended.

WORLDWISE ARTS & HUMANITIES DEAN’S LECTURE SERIES: THE PULITZER 100 (University of Maryland College Park)

What is the impact of the humanities on American life? As part of the Pulitzer Prizes’ Centennial Celebration, the council partnered with the College of Arts and Humanities to present Pulitzer Prize-winning author-historians Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson. NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Sherrilyn Ifill moderated the discussion between the two on the historical context behind their Pulitzer Prize-winning work and its relevancy to today. 210 people attended the event. Full video of this event is available on the Maryland Humanities website.

21ST CENTURY JOURNALISM ETHICS: SEEK THE TRUTH AND REPORT IT

As the council celebrated the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, it wanted to hear what young writers thought about journalism ethics. From Brian Williams to Rolling Stone to Stephen Glass, lapses in professional judgment contribute to the erosion of confidence in the media, so the council invited Maryland students taking formal writing or journalism courses or working for their school newspaper to examine a contemporary ethical dilemma in professional journalism and to share their take on the issue. The six students chosen are featured on the Maryland Humanities website and forwarded to the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial archive.

HUMANITIES CONNECTION

Maryland Humanities weekly radio program, Humanities Connection, on Baltimore’s NPR affiliate WYPR 88.1 FM, devoted three segments to the Project, featuring journalists, writers, artists, and scholars speaking on the topics highlighted  in our Pulitzer programs. The station’s average weekly listenership is 14,200 and includes simulcasts on WYPF Frederick and WYPO Ocean City.

  • March 10, 2016: The Impact of Pulitzer-Winning Journalism—Diana Sugg, Pulitzer-winning journalist, shared the powerful impact that investigative journalism and the Pulitzer Prize have on our world.
  • September 30, 2016: Pulitzer-Prize Winning Drama—Staff members from Olney Theatre Center talked about the play reading festival and how Pulitzer-winning plays changed their lives.
  • December 1, 2016: Pulitzer 100—Dr. Sheri Parks, Director of the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy at the University of Maryland College Park spoke about the “WORLDWISE Arts & Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series: Pulitzer 100” featuring author-historians Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson in conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill.

MAJOR PARTNERSHIPS:

  • The Baltimore Sun
  • Olney Theatre Center
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
  • Montgomery College
  • University of Maryland, College Park

PULITZER PRIZE PARTICIPANTS:

  • Deborah Nelson, Investigative Reporting (1997)
  • Scott Higham, Investigative Reporting (2002), Feature Writing (1994)
  • David Wood, National Reporting (2012, 1998)
  • R. Shipp, Commentary (1996)
  • Diana Sugg, Beat Reporting (2003)
  • Will Englund, Investigative Reporting (1998)
  • John McQuaid, Public Service – The Times-Picayune team (1997, 2006)
  • Elizabeth McGowan, National Reporting (2013)
  • Isabel Wilkerson, Feature Writing (1994)
  • Taylor Branch, History (1989)

PROGRAM & EVENT LOCATIONS:

  • Baltimore, MD
  • College Park, MD
  • Olney, MD

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