Thank you to all participants in the 2022 Local Letters for Global Change contest! Winners and finalists will be announced in early January 2023. Next year's contest will open in September 2023. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Announcing the 2022 Pulitzer Center letter-writing contest!
K-12 students: Make your voice heard this fall by writing a letter to a local elected representative that explains the global issue you want them to prioritize, shows how it connects to your local community, and proposes a solution. Through this contest, students can practice global citizenship, civic action, and persuasive writing, all while exploring the underreported issues that matter to them through Pulitzer Center news stories.
The Pulitzer Center wants to read and share your letters: tell us, and the world, what's most important to you. Read on for contest details, and then enter the contest here.
Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.
We welcome entries for all current K-12 students across the globe. Letters may be written in English and/or Spanish. Students will be judged separately in high school, middle school, and elementary categories, using the same judging rubric.
We will select three first place winners, including one high school entry (grades 9-12), one middle school entry (grades 6-8), and one elementary entry (grades K-5). First place winners will receive:
- $100 to support global community engagement in your classroom (prize distributed to your class teacher)
- Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website
Additional finalists will be selected across all grade levels. Finalists will receive:
- Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website
Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
1. Go to www.pulitzercenter.org/stories, or the Suggested Stories tab above, and choose a news story about a global issue that matters to you.
2. Write a one-page letter to an elected representative in your community that includes the following:
I. Short summary of a global issue, citing a Pulitzer Center news story.
II. Explanation of how this global issue connects to your local community, and/or to you personally.
III. Suggestion of what action you would like your local representative to take to resolve this issue, or otherwise improve related conditions.
For support writing your letter, see the Resources for Teachers and Students tab above.
3. Use this form to enter the contest. It will request some basic personal and contact information, and you can copy/paste your letter directly into the form.
4. Your representatives' contact information is available online. After submitting your letter to the Pulitzer Center, consider mailing or emailing your letter to them directly!
Letters will be judged using this rubric. Here are some guiding questions and tips from the Pulitzer Center team:
- How can I explain this global issue and its importance to someone who is less familiar with it?
- Before arguing for a solution, your reader has to understand the issue. How can you explain it to them concisely in a way that is easy to understand, and makes its importance clear? Use the Pulitzer Center news story as a resource as you summarize, and be sure to cite your sources. Are there facts, statistics, or quotes from the story that could help you explain the issue?
- How am I connected to the global issue I am writing about?
- Most letters will respond to a news story reported from a city, state, and/or country different from their own. In your letter, share details of the news story you read, and explain how the underlying issues are connected to your own community. Are you or other members of your local community affected by the same issue? Do the actions of your community have an effect on the people and places you read about? Identify the big, systemic issues in the news story, and make it clear how they connect to you locally and/or personally.
- What solutions to this problem already exist?
- Other people are probably working on this issue in your local community and around the world. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Consider advocating for a solution that has been effective before or is already in progress. You could explain how a solution implemented elsewhere could work locally, or how the work of people/organizations active in your community could be supported.
- Who has the power to effect the change I want to see?
- Your letter will be most effective if it makes it into the hands of a person who has power to implement the solution you’re suggesting. Learn about your elected officials and decide whose office should receive your letter. For example, if you’re writing about local education issues, you might write to a member of your school board. If you want to see state-level legislation passed, your state senator or governor might be the right choice.
Support for Preparing Students for the Contest:
Please navigate to the Resources for Teachers and Students tab above to find sample letters written by past contest winners, an evaluation rubric, a presentation to introduce the contest, and more. You can also schedule a free, virtual workshop facilitated by a member of the Pulitzer Center education team by filling out this request form.
Access Materials to Write Your Letter or Facilitate a Workshop Independently:
You can find inspiration and models by exploring letters written by past contest winners. Here are the winners and finalists from 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018!
If you are in the United States, you can look up your congressional representative using your zip code at this link. You are welcome to write to this person for the contest. You are also welcome to write to a different elected representative, such as a school board member, mayor, or attorney general.
Schedule a Workshop with the Pulitzer Center Education Team
Would you like to schedule an interactive virtual workshop to prepare your students for the Local Letters for Global Change contest? We're offering free workshops for classrooms, afterschool programs, and other groups of K-12 students between September 14 and November 13, 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I expect during the workshop? How long will it last?
Workshops last 45-75 minutes, depending on your availability and preference. We suggest scheduling a 60-75 minute workshop, if you have the class time, for a more robust discussion.
During the workshop, the facilitator will introduce the contest mission and rules to students. We will also explore an excerpt of a news story together and will practice the thinking routine underlying a successful letter. Time permitting, we will analyze a past winning entry and explore how students can get started with their letters. The primary workshop goals are to get students excited about writing their letters, and to help them feel prepared and empowered to write persuasively about issues that matter to them. Workshops are designed to be highly interactive and discussion-based. We will provide students with multiple ways to engage (verbally, in writing, in small groups, kinesthetically, etc.)
To preview the workshop presentation for upper middle and high school students, request access here. Versions for younger students and in Spanish are also available.
How should I prepare for the workshop?
The workshop is designed to introduce the contest to students. As a result, we recommend that your students participate before writing their letters, and that you devote more class time to follow-up than preparation. However, students may be more comfortable and excited participating in the workshop if they have some familiarity with the project and how it relates to class. We suggest sharing the Local Letters for Global Change web portal with students so they are familiar with the contest guidelines, and that you share information about deadlines or grading for your class with students in advance, if any.
If you want students to get a head start on the work for the contest before the workshop, we suggest sharing this video, which introduces the Pulitzer Center and the concept of underreported stories. Students can then explore the Suggested Stories tab on this page and/or www.pulitzercenter.org/stories to identify a news story they want to use for their letter.
Can workshops be customized for my class?
We have a standard presentation that your facilitator will use to guide the workshop. However, we are happy to support your learning goals for the session by emphasizing particular content and skills. For example, we can include key vocabulary to reinforce lessons on rhetorical techniques, or discuss the responsibilities of different elected representative to whom they might address their letter. Feel free to indicate content and skills you would especially like to emphasize in your workshop request form, and we will let you know whether we are able to do so.
Is there a cost associated with these workshops?
Local Letters for Global Change workshops are free to K-12 students and educators. However, we ask that teachers have all students complete a survey, and that the teacher completes an evaluation as well. These surveys help us continue offering free education programs, and to improve the experience for students and educators.
This program is made possible by our incredible community of donors and foundations. To support this work or to learn more about donating to the Pulitzer Center, click here!
What if I have multiple classes or sections?
You can request as many workshops as needed to accommodate your students. If you are able to combine multiple classes for one workshop, we welcome you to do so.
If request volume prohibits us from accommodating your request, we will be in touch to discuss options for scheduling. Thank you for your understanding as we aim to provide many schools with the opportunity to participate in Local Letters for Global Change.
Can I request a workshop in other languages?
At this time, our staff has the capacity to facilitate workshops in English and in Spanish. You can indicate which language you prefer in the workshop request form.
Can students enter the contest without participating in a workshop?
Yes! Workshops are designed to support students in planning their letters, but participation in a workshop does not affect eligibility for the contest. Furthermore, the presentations used for the workshop are available to all in the Resources for Teachers and Students tab, along with a letter-writing template and evaluation rubric.
Stories for grades 3 and up:
- How Will History Museums Remember This Moment? [Text]
- Performing to an Empty Times Square [Photo, Text]
- How Promotoras de Salud Are Fighting Vaccine Conspiracies in Chicago’s Latino Communities [Photo, text]
- Summer Heat Can Lead to Adverse Health Reactions for Residents Across D.C. [Text]
- San Diego Pays a Lot for Abundant Water. Tijuana Pays a Different Price for Water Scarcity. [Photo, text]
- With New Unions, Argentina’s Domestic Workers Fight Their Way Out of Poverty and Insecurity in the COVID-19 Pandemic [Text, Photo]
- Children of the Incarcerated [Text]
Stories for grades 6 and up:
- Who’s Watching? How Governments Used the Pandemic to Normalize Surveillance [Photo, text]
- ‘I Count Myself as a Black Ukrainian’: the Fashion Designer Starting Again in Budapest — Video [Video, photo, text]
- Ensenada, Last in Line for Colorado River Water, Is Facing the Worst of the West’s Drought [Photo, text]
- Tens of Thousands of Boys in Bangladesh Were Forced into Work During the Pandemic. Now School Is Resuming Without Them. [Photo, text]
- Health Care Professionals Who Are Transgender and Non-binary Are Changing the Exclusionary Health Care System [Photo, text]
- Do You Live Close Enough to a Small U.S. Airport To Have Lead Exposure? Check Our Maps [Text, interactive map]
- ‘Chased From Every Side’: Sumatran Elephants Pinned Down by Forest Loss [Photo, text]
- Why Immigrants Are Calling on New York to Cancel Rent [Text]
- Tech Giants Made a Home in Ghana. Now They’re Quiet on Its Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill. [Text[
- No More Saving Face: Empowering Asian-American Women to Seek Mental Health Treatment [Text]
- Young Climate Activists Warn Their Elders: Stop Destroying the Planet [Photo, text]
Stories for grades 9 and up:
- Volunteer Networks in Mexico Aid At-home Abortions Without Involving Doctors or Clinics. They’re Coming to Texas. [Video, photo, text]
- The Radical Plan for Vaccine Equity [Audio, photo, text]
- The Talk: These Teens From Rural Utah Are Filling ‘The Gaps’ in Sex Ed [Video, photo, text] *Content notes: Description of sexual assault.
- How Americans’ Appetite for Leather in Luxury SUVs Worsens Amazon Deforestation [Photo, text]
- Rough Roads: The Exploitation of Filipino Truck Drivers in Europe [Photo, text]
- 14 Million Afghans Need Food Assistance To Survive, but Most Foreign Aid Remains Frozen [Video, text] *Content notes: Images of child hunger.
- An African Oil Pipeline Exposes the West’s Climate Change Hypocrisy [Photo, text]
- Ukrainian Children Who Fled To Europe Struggle With Trauma [Video, text] *Content notes: Discussion of suicidal thoughts.
- Tech Tool Offers Police ‘Mass Surveillance on a Budget’ [Video, photo, text]
- 'Leave No Tigrayan': In Ethiopia, An Ethnicity Is Erased [Photo, text] *Content notes: Descriptions of sexual violence and ethnic cleansing.
- Kashmir’s Tribal Women Suffer Very Poor Menstrual Health. What’s To Blame? [Photo, text]
- ‘Social Workers Aren’t Always Available – I Am’: Trans Activists in Tbilisi [Text, Photo] *Content notes: Discussion of a suicide attempt.
- The High Human Cost of America’s Sugar Habit [Photo, text]
- Tracked and Traced: Safety vs. Surveillance in Dearborn Public Schools [Audio, text] *Content notes: Discussion of school shootings.
- They Were Born After U.S.-Led Forces Invaded Iraq. Now They Face a Bleak Future [Photo, text]
Stories in Spanish:
Elementary and middle school:
- Lilia: defender la fauna acuática del Amazonas es defender el mundo [Foto, texto, video]
- Una empresa minera amenaza la vida del oso andino en Colombia [Foto, texto, video]
- Los pulmones de la Tierra: África central - República Democrática del Congo [Foto, texto, video]
- La Batalla Sin Fin de Los Guardianes de la Selva Contra la Mafia Maderera en la Amazonia Peruana [Foto, texto]
- El arte para protegerse del virus [Foto, texto]
- Joane: acabar con el plástico y el fuego destructor es posible [Video, foto, texto]
- Los Asientos de Piel de Las Camionetas de Lujo Impulsan la Deforestación de la Amazonia [Foto, texto]
- Migrant Farm Workers and the Families Who Get Left Behind [Video]
- Feministas Autónomas en Chile Reconcilian La Dictadura Militar y Abusos que Siguen [Foto, texto] *Content notes: Discussion of sexual violence.
- Si Termina la Protección Legal al Aborto en Estados Unidos, Más Texanos Podrían Ir a México en Busca de Medicamentos [Foto, texto]
- Cómo Sana la Memoria, Desde Colombia a Chicago [Foto, texto]
- El pueblo que habla con las plantas [Foto, texto, video]
- Somos trabajadoras esenciales [Foto, texto]
- Dani: la joven amazónica que lucha por los bosques y los derechos LGTB [Foto, texto, video]
- Parque Nacional Canaima: fuego en las sabanas [Foto, texto]
- Inmigrantes Luchan Por USA Solo Para Ser Deportados Al Volver de la Guerra [Foto, texto]