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Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Webloggers Point to Pulitzers

Jon Dube's at the American Press Institute calls the New York Times' Pulitzer Prize for its workplace safety series a "convergence landmark" because the stories were part of a joint effort by cooperating print, broadcast and online multimedia teams, altough the Times' was the official Pulitzer winner. PBS Frontline and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did related stories, and presented a three-part "When Workers Die" online feature with original audio and Frontline video, along with a discussion forum.

While the Times won the gold medal for public service, its own newslead on the Pulitzers was that the Los Angeles Times dominated this year's competition with five awards in categories from breaking news to business to automobile reviews, the most awards this year by any news organization. Here's the LA Times version of the story, with links to its own multimedia efforts on last year's Southern California wildfires and the wildfire growth of Wal-Mart. (By the way, I've noticed that since the paper and The Hartford Courant are all owned by Tribune Corporation, my Courant registration password works for all three.)

Meanwhile, Dan Gillmor, weblogging technology columnist for the Mercury News, says the Pulitzer Prizes Show Strength of Big Journalism. Here's his summary:
Check out the winners of the 2004 Pulitzer Prizes. Ask yourself if bloggers, even though they do great work, could have pulled off the kind of journalism that turned into some of these winning entries, such as: Reporting and editing of this caliber is why I hope Big Journalism survives and, despite its failings, thrives in the emerging world of grassroots journalism. Again, congratulations to all winners. The work makes me proud to be a journalist.
[Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

See the discussion at the end of Dan's piece. Also watch for more on Jay Rosen's pre-Bloggercon "What is Journalism?" thread and Tom Mangan's weblog follow-up.

My two cents: Journalism is an honorable craft with hits as well as misses. The Pulitzers point out the biggest hits. Blogs are great at pointing out the misses as well as doing their own journalism, whether that means first-hand reporting, interpretation or analysis. I hope more newspaper and TV journalists get in the habit of reading a few weblogs and learning from them, as well as fitting their own blogs into their lives.

Of course no solo blogger is going to compete with the team efforts that went into the major-category Pulitzers, but it would be interesting to compare the columnists, feature writers, critics and editorial writers with a best-of-blogs in the same categories.

The site design is a bit clumsy and slow, but if readers look for the "Works" tabs on the award pages they can get to some of the winning stories and columns from this year or past years. Samples:

Meanwhile, if you're interested in the Pulitzer criteria and decision-making process, see Pulitzer Juror's Tale by Keith Woods, on sifting through 200 entries in search of the commentary prize winner.

1:22:06 PM    

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