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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

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