No cigar

The Pulitzer Prize has long been a dangerous influence in American journalism, and it’s only getting worse.

For too long, newspapers have been edited for prize juries not their publics, taking resources away from local reporting to write long, show-off pieces that don’t necessarily serve their communities and that skew the priorities of newsrooms. Of course, I’m not saying that all Pulitzer-winning journalism is bad; of course, not. But I am saying that pandering to the Pulitzers is a perversion of the intent of the prize and of newspaper reporting as well.

Last year, the Pulitzers allowed just a little bit of online content to qualify for a prize. This year, they open that up to include “a full array of online material-such as databases, interactive graphics, and streaming video.” But they still insist, stubbornly, to award only journalism from newspapers.

Eligibility for entering the competition will continue to be restricted to newspapers published daily, Sunday, or at least once a week during the calendar year. “This keeps faith with the historic mandate of the Pulitzer Prizes,” Gissler said.

I thought the Pulitzers existed to award journalism, not printing.

And the more newspapers continue to define themselves narrowly, as a club, the worse their fate will be in a world of expanding journalism. That’s what I mean when I say that the negative impact of the Pulitzers is only getting worse, even as they try to make it better.

Esteemed jurors: Open up the prize. Award great journalism wherever and however and by whomever it is committed.

: See also Lost Remote and Yelvington.

  • Stephen

    Why don’t you drop the cute headlines and title your posts in a way that readers can tell more-or-less what the post is about?

  • Delilah

    To Stephen…. Haven’t you even taken a course in writing? CATCHY HEADLINES AND TITLES!!!! You don’t like it… don’t read it!

  • http://www.filmbuffonline.com Rich Drees

    Does anyone remember the name of the prize for the best buggy whip manufacturer?

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  • http://www.thissphere.blogspot.com/ Tom Andersen

    I’m wondering which Pulitzers for reporting in recent years you think didn’t necessarily serve their communities and skewed the priorities of the newsrooms that produced them? I don’t think the problem is the stories that win (which you imply when you say “I’m not saying all Pulitzer-winning journalism is bad”). The problem is when understaffed, poorly-directed and under-talented newsrooms forget their primary mission and aim for prizes instead of aiming for good journalism (which you imply when you say the Pulitzer has been a dangerous influence)

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  • http://www.sehvetli.com seks izle

    Reporting in recent years you think didn’t necessarily serve their communities and skewed the priorities of the newsrooms that produced them? I don’t think the problem is the stories that win (which you imply when you say “I’m not saying all Pulitzer-winning journalism is bad”). The problem is when understaffed, poorly-directed and under-talented newsrooms forget their primary mission and aim for prizes instead of aiming for good journalism

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