This year The Pulitzer Prize Board replaced the (now-defunct) Editorial Cartooning category with the category called Illustrated Reporting and Commentary the definitions of which, while including conventional editorial cartooning, goes far beyond the commonly accepted characteristic of the single panel newspaper political cartoon.
The AAEC makes the case for the two categories co-existing:
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists would like to congratulate illustrator Fahmida Azim and the other contributors to the team that created the illustrated article, “I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp,” which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in the recently renamed category of Illustrated Reporting and Commentary. We would like to also congratulate the finalists, The New Yorker cartoonist Zoe Si, and Washington Post editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes. Cartooning, regardless of genre, is time intensive, often challenging, occasionally dangerous, but always rewarding work.
While we celebrate Azim, Si, and Telnaes, the AAEC once again encourages the Pulitzer Board to consider reinstating Editorial Cartooning as its own Pulitzer category, while also recognizing Illustrated Reporting as a separate form. Each is a different type of journalism.
The AAEC notes, as Mike Peterson did this morning, that if The Pulitzers can have multiple categories for related journalistic endeavors (i.e.: commentary, criticism, and editorial writing) having an award for Graphic Political Cartoons and another for Graphic Journalistic Reporting would not be out of order.
The AAEC continues:
Editorial cartoons are quick, in-the-moment commentary, whose artists have to educate themselves on complex issues and craft well-informed opinions in a single take that emphasizes clarity under daily deadlines. Illustrated reporting, or comics journalism, takes days, weeks, or months to craft a story, which can run for pages, and which may or may not be presenting an opinion.
By having two separate categories — one for Editorial Cartooning and one for Illustrated Reporting — the Pulitzers can celebrate what makes each genre unique, and recognize the growing field of graphic journalism without slighting the long history of political cartooning.