The Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing is one of the fourteen American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Journalism. It has been awarded since 1917 for distinguished editorial writing, the test of excellence being clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning, and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceives to be the right direction. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year. The program has also recognized opinion journalism with its Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning from 1922.
Finalists have been announced from 1980, ordinarily two others beside the winner.
One person ordinarily wins the award for work with one newspaper or with affiliated papers, and that was true without exception between 1936 (the only time two prizes were given) and 1977. In the early years, several newspapers were recognized without naming any writer, and that has occasionally happened recently. Several times from 1977, two or three people have shared the award for their work with one paper.
In its first 97 years to 2013, the Editorial Writing Pulitzer was awarded 89 times. In nine years there was no award given and there were two prizes in 1936. No one has won it twice.