Today’s Gawker Op Ed by John Cook is perfect spring fodder for students at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. That’s where Sharon Bernstein, one of Cook’s cited examples of Pulitzer’s 21st century irrelevance, will soon be teaching as a visiting professor.

Cook points to laid off LA Times staffer Bernstein (now with NBCLA) and other Pulitzer Prize winners who have been terminated, including a former workmate at the Chicago Tribune, Jeff Lyon, who took a buyout in 2009. Cook recalls how shocked he was one day after joining the Chicago paper to learn that Lyon was part of the Pulitzer prize-winning ranks.

The hook for this provocative opinion piece is the fact that next week is the submission deadline for 2012 Pulitzer consideration. Writes Cook:

If a Pulitzer isn’t a guarantee that, at the very least, you won’t get canned tomorrow, then what good is it as a mark of journalistic excellence?

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