Lesson Plans

Local Letters for Global Change: A Pulitzer Center Writing Contest

Tell your representative what global issue you want them to prioritize!

Tell your representative what global issue you want them to prioritize!

Announcing the 2020 Pulitzer Center letter-writing contest!

Make your voice heard this election season by writing a letter to a local elected representative that explains the global issue you want them to prioritize. Make your case using Pulitzer Center reporting.

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. DEADLINE: Friday, November 13th at 11:59PM EST.


First place winners in the high school, middle school, and elementary categories:

  • $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


  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website


Any current K-12 student in the United States or abroad may enter. 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.


Friday, November 13, 2020 11:59 PM EST

Entry guidelines: 

1. Go to www.pulitzercenter.org/reporting and choose a news story about an issue affecting another part of the world. When choosing your news story, consider: Why does this news story matter to you? How is the issue it describes relevant to your local community? [See below for some suggested stories to get you started]

2. Write a one-page letter to an elected representative in your community that includes the following:

I.    Short summary of an issue affecting another part of the world, citing a Pulitzer Center news story.
II.  Explanation of why this issue is important to you and your community.
III. Suggestion of what action you would like your local representative to take on this issue.

For support writing your letter, use this letter-writing template.

3. Enter using this Google form. It will request some basic personal/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!

Judging Criteria:

Judges will use this rubric to evaluate letters.

Support for Preparing Students:

1. You can use this presentation to introduce the contest to your students (just request access!)

2. Share examples of past letters written by contest winners. Here are the winners from 2019!

3. Students may find this graphic organizer helpful in planning their letters.

4. Email hberk@pulitzercenter.org to invite a Pulitzer Center education team member to facilitate a lesson for your class virtually.

5. Feel free to adapt this rubric to evaluate your students' letters.

Suggested News Stories:

Stories for grades 3 and up

Holding onto Hope at the U.S.-Mexico Border [Text]
How Schools in Brazil Are Teaching Kids to Eat Their Vegetables [Text, Audio]
Children of the Incarcerated [Text]
In Syria, All Girls Want Is Safety and School [Text, Audio]
Exotic Pets in China Fuelling Biodiversity Loss [Text, Video]
No 'Hands-On,' No Field Trips: Riverfront Museum Adapting to COVID-19 Realities [Text]
A Threat to Cambodia's Sacred Forests [Video]

Stories for grades 6 and up

Portraits of a Pandemic: Joining a Broader Movement to Fight for Tenant Rights [Text]
The Many Varieties of Voter Supression [Text}
Plastic That Travels 8,000 Miles: The Global Crisis in Recycling [Text, Photo]
Police Violence Against Dominicans in Puerto Rico Suggests Systemic Problem [Text]
For an Agricultural Worker, Supporting His Family Means Being Separated From Them [Video]
Behind the Dream: A Family Broken by a Jade Mining Disaster [Text, Illustrations]
COVID-19 Is a ‘Crisis Within a Crisis’ for Homeless People [Text, Photo]
‘We Can’t Be Selective on What Black Lives Matter and What Black Lives Don’t,' Says Philly Race and Gender Activist [Text]

Stories for grades 9 and up

Undocumented in the Pandemic: 'Nowhere Else to Go' [Video]
Exposing How U.S. Universities Profited From Indigenous Land [Text]
Built to Last: The Detention and Incarceration of China’s Muslim Minorities [Text]
The Great Climate Migration [Text]
Finding Home as an Intersex Asylum Seeker [Video]
America’s Clean Water Crisis Goes Far Beyond Flint. There’s No Relief in Sight [Text, Photo]
‘We Are All We Have’: Nome Sexual Assault Victims Find Their Collective Strength [Text]
Even with a Harvard Pedigree, Caste Follows ‘Like a Shadow’ [Text, Audio]
Jailing the Mentally Ill [Video]
How Tough Policies in the COVID-19 Era Are Endangering Asylum Seekers [Text]

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