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Posts Tagged ‘Pulitzer’

The Lost Art of Breaking News

When no Pulitzer was given for the “Breaking News” category this year, Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler indicated to Poynter that perhaps there was no winner because the few entries received for the category just weren’t good enough.

The odd thing is that news is now being broken faster than ever, via a variety of different means, in particular, Twitter. But Karen Dunlap argues for Poynter that the weakness today is not in quickly reporting breaking news, but in presenting facts to tell a cohesive story.

Journalists have more options than ever before in reporting tools, including video, the written word, slideshows, timelines, charts, audio and more. The question is: Do citizens consume a full and accurate report or just taste an array of interesting pieces?

This is a good time to consider what the array of digital tools mean to storytelling, especially during breaking news.

Given the choice between being the first to tweet out an important news item, versus taking some time to tell a story about it — and risking someone else tweeting out the same story first — more and more journalists opt to be the ones to get the first Tweet. But perhaps there is something lost in reducing everything to 140 characters — and not just the Pulitzer.

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Pulitzer Board Comments on No Breaking News Winner

When the Pulitzer Prize’s were announced yesterday, the Breaking News category was left blank for the first time, which left people wondering why that had happened.

Poynter spoke to Sig Gissler, a Pulitzer administrator, but because voting specifics are kept confidential, we don’t learn much.  However, the reason there was no winner appears to be that the few entries received for the category just weren’t good enough:

Of all of the Pulitzer categories, breaking news coverage attracts the fewest entries, only 37 in this year’s contest, Gissler said. That is down from 41 in 2010, 35 entries in 2009, 47 in 2008 and 52 in 2007.

Gissler added that even though there have been significant breaking news events in the last year, judges weigh their decisions based on the quality of individual entries. ‘In order to win, an entry must get a majority vote,’ he said.

A few people have mentioned that maybe Twitter should have won. But the problem there is that the tiny vessels of quality information often get lost among the sea of  worthless crap, so it’d be pretty hard for the board to narrow down entries. Plus, about 90 percent of them would be about Justin Bieber, and although him declaring Cool Ranch his favorite Doritos flavor is shocking, it’s certainly not Pulitzer worthy.

A Pulitzer For The National Enquirer?

Former presidential candidate John Edwards has been all over the news this week, due to his (not surprising) admission of paternity of his admitted mistress’s baby, possibly spurred by the best selling book Game Change debuting this week, which features in-depth descriptions of Edwards’ actions during the 2008 campaign, including his denial of the affair.

Now the publication that broke the story, supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer plans to submit its work for a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in journalism. As Game Change explains, when the paper broke the story in 2007, the mainstream media brushed it off as sensational storytelling and mainly ignored it. But executive editor Barry Levine told The Washington Post‘s media reporter Howard Kurtz that this week’s admissions have resulted in “vindication” for the tab.

“It’s clear we should be a contender for this,” Levine told Kurtz of the Pulitzer, referring to his paper’s revelations about the affair and Edwards’ paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter. “The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, was able to publish this reporting.”

Although a Pulitzer for the Enquirer would set these awards on its head, we may not get to see such a thing this year; Kurtz points out that the tabloid’s best work on the Edwards story was done in 2007 and 2008, and this year’s prizes will honor work for 2009. Still, for a prize that has never even gone to an online news outlet, any shake up in the Pulitzer world would hint that the respected award recognizes the changing landscape of the media today. In reality, a nomination or award for The National Enquirer or TMZ might not be that far off, as long as they keep producing solid investigative journalism and breaking important news — assuming the Pulitzer committee can separate that work from the sensational things that are published by those sources.

John Edwards’ paternity admission vindicates National Enquirer, its editor saysThe Washington Post

Previously: Game Change Authors Talk Reporting, Reaction To Their Book

Jenifer McKim Tells FBLA Third Time’s A Charm

mckim.jpgOrange Count Register investigative reporter Jenifer McKim is headed to Harvard this August. McKim, a Pulitzer finalist, won a Nieman — finally! It was McKim’s third attempt to win that elusive award, and the Boston-bound star reporter couldn’t be happier.

McKim tells FBLA she’s taking the whole crew to Cambridge – her hubby and 6 1/2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

It’ll be nice to have the family around her, we’re sure, but we doubt McKim will want to leave her homework lying around. McKim tells us, “I’ll be studying issues related to child prostitution and at-risk youth as well as taking advantage of all the array of great opportunities Harvard and the Nieman offer.”

Egads. OK. As to, how does it feel to finally win?

“After three tries, I’m still pinching myself that this is actually happening,” she says. “It’s been something I’ve dreamed about for a long time, so having it actually become reality is still taking a while to sink in. A good lesson to all who don’t get what they want on the first or second (or 15th) try!”