The process behind choosing Pulitzer Prizes is pretty secretive, but the new administrator for the Pulitzers, Mike Pride, has been close to that process and seen the changes it’s been through in recent years.
“When you see how it works, you can’t have anything but respect for the honesty and the earnestness with which the board members try to make the right choice in every case and really to hold up the high standards for what is excellence in journalism, and in letters as well,” Pride told Poynter in a phone interview.
On Tuesday, Pride was named the new administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. He’s the former editor of the Concord Monitor and was on the Pulitzer board for nine years. He was a Pulitzer juror four times. The Pulitzers experienced some big changes during the last 12 years under former administrator Sig Gissler. Pride said he doesn’t have a specific agenda, and he doesn’t think the Pulitzer board does, either, “other than a desire to stay current.”
“What the Pulitzers really have to do, like every other institution associated with journalism, they have to change with the times and the times are changing very quickly. At the same time, they have to hold to what’s worked and what’s made the process work.”
Pride’s job is a year-round one, he said, fielding entries and following the jury process, and he’ll take cues from board about direction.
“I don’t think that the fundamental definition of what is excellent journalism has changed that much,” Pride said. Regardless of the medium, “in every case it’s really doing a stellar job of digging below the surface and finding out what’s really happening.”
And the prizes will continue to be one that honors daily journalism with roots in print.
“That’s the challenge, to remain a journalism award in a world where journalism is really changing very quickly.”