Much speculation has been given to the fact that no news organization won the “Breaking News” Pulitzer prize this year, particularly because Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler indicated that there was no winner because none of the entries were good enough.
Some agreed with him that breaking news is now a lost art. Other felt that Twitter really deserved the prize, if that was possible. Larry Kramer wrote that “if the newspaper industry gives up on breaking news, they should just close their doors.”
Now Joel Achenbach argues at The Washington Post that it’s not the fault of the news organizations that no one won, but of the Pulitzer Prize’s own flawed rule system. Both the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal can claim they were robbed of the breaking news Pulitzer, because both did “tremendous work on the gulf oil spill, which was the biggest breaking news story of the year.” Writes Achenbach:
Now, you might argue that the spill was not truly “breaking” news, except for the first couple of days. You would be mistaken. It was ALL breaking, for three months, every day different from the last.
So why didn’t they win? Achenbach suggests it’s time for a rule change.
I suspect the real problem is that the breaking news category stipulates that the work be “local.” Why make that stipulation? There’s already a separate category for Local News.