Articles about "Pulitzer Prizes"


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Did the government throw shade on latest Greenwald scoop?

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories. Also, from Sam Kirkland, your digital morning stuff, and from Kristen Hare, a look at journalism outside the U.S.

  1. Did the government try to stink up Glenn Greenwald’s latest story? The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s national president, Samer Khalaf, says “It wasn’t that they were saying it was false. They were saying they can’t respond to a story that wasn’t out yet.” (The Washington Post) | The Intercept “began hearing about Justice Department officials attempting to discredit our story long before that [ADC] meeting took place.” (The Intercept) | Related: Bart Gellman answers objections to his latest NSA story, which he wrote with Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani. (The Washington Post)
  2. Remembering John Seigenthaler, who died Friday: The Tennessean’s package | Former Poynter President Karen Dunlap remembers Seigenthaler. (Poynter) | Poynter will have some more Seigenthaler stuff today.
  3. “You made us proud”: English-language paper in Argentina does defeat well. (Poynter) | North Korea is not telling its people it made the World Cup Final (BuzzFeed) | Sort-of related: The New York Times’ fantastic Saturday sports section front (Deadspin)
  4. New York University is offering a course in videogame journalism: Pulitzers have gone to other areas of cultural coverage, and “History shows that the category does grow and change with the times,” Sig Gissler says. (CJR)
  5. Kent State j-prof seeks hellraisers: “Please, if you can identify a director of a school of journalism who is raising hell about the Obama Administration’s attack on whistleblowers who are so essential in a democracy, please let me know.” (When Journalism Fails)
  6. Michael Wolff on the News Corp./Tribune newspapers rumor: “Mostly, such rumors get started because Murdoch starts them himself.” (USA Today)
  7. 85 percent of USA Today’s stories never see a dead tree: “Reporters have to write 5- and 30-minute stories,” Publisher Larry Kramer tells Leslie Kaufman. (NYT)
  8. It’s just a minor threat? “Data journalism is a sort of journalistic punk of our times.” (EJO)
  9. Newspaper regrets cooking advice: You know that tip about marinating chicken in newspaper bags? Ignore it. (The Morning Call)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Jeff Mason was elected president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He is a White House correspondent for Reuters. (Talking Biz News) | Kevin Martinez will be the publisher of Maxim magazine. Previously, he was the publisher of Details. (New York Post) | Sarah Chassé is a copy editor at Reader’s Digest. She was previously a senior copy editor at Benchmark Education. (Mediabistro) | Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org. Read more

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Bloomberg publications await launch dates, alt-weeklies get together on a story

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Where are Bloomberg’s new verticals? Its politics site will launch in October, “30 days before the 2014 Midterms,” Joe Pompeo reports. Bloomberg Business, Bloomberg Markets and Bloomberg Pursuits have “no hard launch dates,” Pompeo writes. “‘It’s still mostly chatter about strategy with no product being delivered,’ said one executive who was not authorized to speak on the record. ‘People want to see something on the table, basically.’” (Capital)
  2. Pulitzers have a new boss: Former Concord Monitor Editor Mike Pride will become the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes this September. (NYT) | Pride talks with Kristen Hare: “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.” (Poynter)
  3. Brown Moses is launching a site for crowdsourced reporting: Bellingcat will give citizen journalists “a chance to learn what I’ve learnt over the last two years by trial and error,” Eliot Higgins, a.k.a. Brown Moses, tells Mathew Ingram. (Gigaom) | Previously: “How an unemployed blogger confirmed that Syria had used chemical weapons.” (The New Yorker)
  4. RIP Jeffrey Ressner: The former writer for Politico, Time, Rolling Stone, L.A. Weekly and others was 56. (Billboard, LA Observed)
  5. Google Reader has been dead for a year: How do you use RSS, if you still do? (Mashable) | For what it’s worth, I really like Digg Reader.
  6. It’s time to credential SCOTUSblog: “According to the site’s internal data, Scotusblog’s single biggest user is the Supreme Court itself.” (NYT) | SCOTUSblog Publisher Tom Goldstein talks about the sassy replies he sent to Twitter users who confused his blog with the court. The message? “Just to take a minute and be more civil and think about what you are doing rather than blasting off.” (AJR)
  7. Alt-weeklies bash politicians: A bunch of AAN member papers will publish an “unabashedly irreverent” 15,000-word piece about the country’s worst politicians this week. (AAN) | Did they Snowfall it? They Snowfalled it! (America’s Worst Politicians)
  8. Sources at powerful institutions usually fit into five categories: “The scorned lover,” “The only guy with half a brain,” “The charmer,” “The suicide bomber,” “The archivist.” More tips from New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo. (Jim Romenesko)
  9. Plagiarism: The T-shirt: Only $6.99. (LOL Shirts)
  10. Job stuff: Jane Spencer is Fusion’s new digital editor-in-chief. She had been The Wall Street Journal’s editor of digital projects and innovation. (Politico) | Mark Katches is The Oregonian’s new editor. He had been at the Center for Investigative Reporting. (Willamette Week) | Stan Wischnowski is the new vice president for news operations at The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com. He had been the Inquirer’s executive editor. (The Philadelphia Inquirer) | Carol Loomis is retiring from Fortune: “this year marks her 60th as an employee of Fortune and Time Inc., a record surely never to be broken,” Managing Editor Andy Serwer writes. (Fortune)

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: abeaujon@poynter.org. Read more

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Pulitzer names Mike Pride new administrator

Mike Pride (Submitted)

Mike Pride (Submitted)

Mike Pride is the new administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, Columbia University announced Tuesday. Pride, the former editor of the Concord Monitor “led his small New Hampshire newspaper to national prominence and served as co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board,” according to the press release.

Pride, 67, became editor of the Monitor in 1983 after serving as managing editor. Under his leadership the Monitor won the New England Newspaper of the Year Award 19 times, as well as numerous national awards for excellence. The paper was cited by Time magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the best papers in the country. In 2008, the Monitor won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

“Mike Pride is the ideal candidate to take the Pulitzer Prizes into their next phase,” said Danielle Allen, a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the Pulitzer Board chair who led the search committee that tapped Pride. “He is committed to a free press and community journalism as pillars of democracy. He is a warm person of sound judgment and inspiring creativity. His deep experience with the Prizes equips him brilliantly to help us navigate the new while also steering a course true to our original values.”

According to the press release, Pride joined the Pulitzer board in 1999 and has been a Pulitzer juror four times.

From his 2007 Pulitzer bio:

Before joining the Monitor, Pride served in the U.S. Army in the 1960s and was city editor of the Clearwater Sun and the Tallahassee Democrat. Pride, a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, won the National Press Foundation’s Editor of the Year Award in 1987 for directing the Monitor’s coverage of the Challenger disaster and later won the Yankee Quill Award for contributions to New England journalism. He is the co-author of My Brave Boys, a Civil War history, and Too Dead to Die, the memoir of a Bataan Death March survivor. Pride taught a presidential politics course at Gettysburg College and has also been a lecturer and tour guide at the College’s Civil War Institute.

Pride replaces Sig Gissler, who announced his retirement from the position in January. Gissler first started his role as administrator in 2002.

In January, Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon reported that Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study’s Danielle Allen led the search committee for the new administrator. Read more

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Reuters will defend ‘vigorously’ if Thai police move to arrest journalists

Agence France-Presse | Phuketwan

Reuters journalists “will be summoned in the next few days to acknowledge defamation charges” in Thailand, Agence France-Presse reports. “If they do not come, arrest warrants will be issued,” Lt. Somkid On-Jan of Phuket’s Vichit Police Station told AFP. Somkid didn’t name the journalists, but Reuters’ Stuart Grudgings and Jason Szep wrote an article about Thai authorities selling members of a Muslim minority group in Myanmar to human traffickers. It was part of a series that won a Pulitzer Prize.

“We’re aware that a captain in the Royal Thai Navy filed a criminal complaint against Reuters and two Reuters journalists, Stuart Grudgings and Jason Szep, arising out of the Rohingya coverage, and that the complaint alleges violations of the Computer Crimes Act,” David Crundwell, Thomson Reuters’ head of corporate affairs, told Poynter in an email. “If necessary we will defend our story, along with our right to publish, vigorously.”

Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison, two reporters from the English language website Phuketwan who excerpted 41 words of the Reuters report, have already been charged, Phuketwan reports. They’re due in court May 26. Morison, as a director of Phuketwan’s parent company, “faces twice the penalty” under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act. The 2007 law “bans any online criticism of the Thai royal family and, more broadly, any materials considered a threat to national security,” CPJ wrote late last year. Read more

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Lucky Peach gets five James Beard Awards

James Beard Awards

The food quarterly Lucky Peach got five James Beard Awards Friday night.

The magazine, which is no longer published by McSweeney’s, won for John Birdsall’s essay “America, Your Food Is So Gay,” Lisa Hanawalt’s “On the Trail with Wylie,” John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “I Placed a Jar in Tennessee,” Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Dick Soup” and Francis Lam’s “A Day on Long Island with Alex Lee.”

Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow also got an award for his series about food stamps. The work won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting last month. (While speaking to his newsroom about the award, Saslow said sources on stories like these are “the ones who take the huge risk.”)

Some of the other media awards: Read more

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NABJ names Stephen Henderson 2014 Journalist of the Year

National Association of Black Journalists

Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor at the Detroit Free Press and a 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner, has been named the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. In a press release Friday, NABJ noted that Henderson won the Pulitzer for commentary, according to the citation, “on the financial crisis facing his hometown, written with passion and a stirring sense of place, sparing no one in their critique.”

“Stephen Henderson’s career has been one marked by incisive, detailed reporting about politics, policy and urban affairs,” NABJ President Bob Butler said. “As an editorial writer and columnist, Stephen has a unique voice which helps punctuate his arguments and compels readers to seriously reflect on the issues facing them locally, nationally and globally, often motivating them to seek solutions to the problems discussed.”

Henderson, who has also worked at The Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune, worked at the Free Press in the 90s, NABJ reports, and returned in 2007. On April 14, JC Reindl wrote about Henderson’s Pulitzer win for the Free Press.

In a video with that story, Henderson’s asked if, as a young journalist growing up in Detroit, he ever thought that he wanted to win a Pulitzer.

He replied: “No, I always said I wanted to work at the Free Press, though.” Read more

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Despite ABC News/CPI blowup, here’s how news partnerships can work

Journalism organizations might get discouraged about joining partnerships after the public meltdown of the partnership between ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity this week.

CPI’s reporter Chris Hamby won a Pulitzer Prize for stories that exposed how coal miners who were dying from black-lung disease were being unfairly denied health benefits. ABC wanted to get some of the credit for the investigation. What followed was a nasty exchange that played out here on Poynter Online all week.

But let’s not forget the upside to great investigative journalists from different organizations working together. ABC and CPI did affect lives, expose wrongdoing and reach a national audience that neither could have done alone.

Some of the most important journalism in recent years has been the product of partnerships. Look at this graphic from PBS Frontline showing all of the partners it has worked with on significant projects. The list spans from local newspapers to nonprofit investigative groups to ESPN and Univision. In some cases there were several partners involved in a project.

Howard Berkes, NPR investigations correspondent

National Public Radio investigations correspondent Howard Berkes told Poynter.org that partnerships can allow newsrooms to cover stories with depth and expertise that they cannot do on their own. Berkes points to a partnership he participated in that involved The Center for Public Integrity and NPR. The investigation focused on the resurgence of black-lung cases in the United States.

“My partner in this project, Chris Hamby from The Center for Public Integrity, knows how to make sense of data a lot better than I do. He worked on worker safety realm of the story while I know a lot about the coal industry having done a lot of stories about mine safety. It was a good blending; we spent a week on the road together, but when I did an interview alone I shared a complete transcript with him and he did the same. We shared everything,” Berkes said. When it was time to publish and air the stories, Berkes said having a partner was vital to making the stories bulletproof. “CPI reviewed my script, every word of it. While you each write your own stories, you want your reporting to be consistent with your partner. ”

Berkes also produced his groundbreaking investigation into corn bin safety, Buried in Grain, with CPI as a partner. The story uncovered how hundreds of workers died in preventable grain-related entrapments in 34 states since 1984. But safety enforcement is weak and even big fines get reduced before they are paid.

“My partner in that project, Jim Morris is a journalist who spent his entire career covering workplace safety issues.” Berkes said Morris brought tremendous knowledge to that project, which produced congressional action.

Berkes said his expertise in developing memorable characters to illustrate stories made the facts the team uncovered come alive. Berkes said his partner at CPI was ready to publish his version of the story in November 2012. But NPR wanted to land one key interview first, an interview with a young worker who watched his buddy die while being buried in grain. It took six months to land the interview and CPI agreed to wait until NPR was ready to air. “Good partners make it more likely that you will produce the kind of reporting that will make a difference,” Berkes said.

Mark Stencel, Poynter Digital Fellow

Mark Stencel, The Poynter Institute’s Digital Fellow, has been helping to manage news partnerships since 1996. “My first job in partnerships involved The Washington Post, ABC News, Newsweek and Times Mirror. It was right at the beginning of the digital news movement.”

Since then, Stencel has worked on partnerships that included the Post, MSNBC, MSNBC.com, NPR and many others. “I can tell you this, anybody who starts a partnership with another organization thinking it is going to save time reporting a story is almost always wrong. Partnerships involve a lot of trust-building, communication and effort.” Stencel offered me a list of ways partnerships can pay off:

  • Expand Your Expertise: “Newsrooms should partner with others who have experiences that will complement their own. The partner could also have contacts and access that helps tell a stronger story than you can get alone.”
  • Reach: “Partners can help you reach wider audiences. It is the megaphone effect that can get the attention of people, including lawmakers who can change things that you expose as wrong.”
  • Share Resources: “Partnerships can help newsrooms with limited budgets to find ways to tell big stories.”

 

Stencel says partnerships sometimes fall apart when the parties fail to work out key details on the front end. His advice:

  • Know What You Want: “The worst partnerships are the ones that are born at executive lunches and dinners. I have been in a lot of meetings where teams stare longingly and whisper about making beautiful news but never do. You have to have specific objectives for why you want this partnership and how you will help each other.”
  • Internal Partnerships Don’t Always Work: “Even if partners come from the same company, there is no guarantee that they will work well together. They still have to agree on an outcome and work toward that.”
  • Get Management Buy-In: “I have worked on partnerships that have endured many changes in management, including the polling partnerships between ABC News and The Washington Post. The key is to define your goals and stick to it.”
  • Agree to a Process: “The processes include everything from how stories will be edited, when they will be published, how you will make corrections if they are needed, how you will credit each other and how, if the work is submitted for awards, the credit would be shared.”
  • Agree on Legal Issues: “Partnerships are best if they begin with a formal agreement but lots of them are informal. You may have to have a talk about who would be responsible if somebody gets sued for what you report. How will you indemnify each other?”

 

NPR’s Berkes said big organizations should not overlook smaller partners. “I am working on a project right now with a partner called Mine Safety and Health News. They are encyclopedic in their knowledge of the coal industry, civil and criminal cases and they know all of the characters and companies in the industry.” You may not have heard of Mine Safety and Health News, but the group has won 31 national journalism awards over the years.

Stencel says his experience with partnerships has taught him that newsrooms get the most results from working on targeted projects first, then if it works out, strike a larger partnership.

“Marry often, divorce bad partners fast, and don’t be afraid to keep dating,” Stencel said. Read more

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Contest entries from ABC, Center for Public Integrity highlight their division

On the same day that ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity won yet another national journalism award for exposing how coal miners were being unjustly denied black-lung benefits, the spat between the two venerable newsrooms heated up. And now you can read the letters that have been flying back and forth between former colleagues who in recent months shared some of journalism’s highest honors for their work.

Wednesday, ABC and CPI won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for online investigative reporting (affiliated category).

On March 5, ABC and CPI accepted the coveted Harvard Goldsmith Prize. The Goldsmith judges gushed about how they believed the joint investigation was a model for other newsrooms to follow.

 

The White House Correspondents’ Association also honored the joint project with its Edgar A. Poe Award.

But the partnership blew up Tuesday when the Pulitzer Prizes were announced. A CPI reporter, Chris Hamby, won and ABC was not included in the award and says it should share in the honor.

CPI fired back and said ABC didn’t do as much work on the project as it claimed. How did a partnership that produced what, by all accounts, is one of the most important works of journalism in the last year fall apart so spectacularly?

The difference in how the two sides viewed each other’s involvement shows up in two contest entry forms. The first is one submitted by ABC for the SPJ/SDX awards. ABC mentions its “partner” CPI’s considerable contributions to the effort multiple times in the entry.

ABC News Contest Entry

Now look at the entry submitted to the Pulitzers by CPI. It barely mentions ABC’s work except to say ABC joined the effort months into the investigation.

CPI Pulitzer Entry Letter

On Wednesday, the executive director of The Center for Public Integrity, Bill Buzenberg, offered to release what he says is evidence of how little ABC News knew about the investigation into coal miner black-lung benefits.

Buzenberg was still steaming about the four-page letter that ABC News President Ben Sherwood sent to Buzenberg and his center’s board asking them to “share” credit for the Pulitzer awarded to Hamby, who Capital New York reported is moving to BuzzFeed.

(You can read Sherwood’s letter to Buzenberg, Buzenberg’s reply, and CPI’s letter to Pulitzer Administrator Sig Gissler below.)

On Wednesday, Buzenberg wrote on the CPI website:

Emails and drafts leading up to the airdate of ABC’s “Nightline” segment show that ABC depended to a remarkable degree on Chris’ access to sources, documents and data and his expertise on complex issues — all of which repeatedly saved ABC from making embarrassing factual errors in broadcast segments and online stories.

The Center is prepared to show in great detail how little ABC’s Brian Ross and Matt Mosk understood about even the most fundamental concepts and key facts and how they repeatedly turned to Chris to advise them or, in some instances, to do their work for them.

Draft scripts leading up to the airdate of the “Nightline” segment show serious factual inaccuracies by ABC and a continued lack of understanding of basic, key concepts. If not for Chris’ intervention, upon finally being shown the scripts, ABC would have found itself facing withering, legitimate criticism.

ABC has never acknowledged its extraordinary reliance on Chris for even the most basic information about this highly technical and complex story. Chris, of course, has never complained to ABC about this, despite repeated statements by ABC on air, online and in press releases that erroneously made it appear as if ABC was the driving force behind this project.

It is incredibly insulting for ABC to not only fail to acknowledge Chris’ indispensable work solely for ABC’s benefit, but to go even further and suggest that the opposite is true — that the Center is downplaying ABC’s work. A mountain of evidence shows this is not true.

In his letter, Sherwood insisted that CPI could not have won the Pulitzer without ABC’s help. Buzenberg provides a point-by-point rebuttal saying Hamby was the engine behind the story for months before ABC entered the investigation and in long stretches when ABC was working on other things.

Buzenberg repeated the point that he made to Poynter.org Tuesday that no matter what ABC says its contributions were, Pulitzer rules would not have allowed the network to share a prize.

Buzenberg says:

Of course, we appreciate the contributions ABC made, but the unique contributions of ABC were almost exclusively for the benefit of the production of television segments. We believe ABC did great work on the television segments, which is why we submitted them in contests that allowed such joint submissions and happily shared numerous other honors with ABC. But, as we’ve said, television simply cannot be entered in the Pulitzers. The rules are very clear and have been confirmed again by the Pulitzer Administrator.

We have been thrilled at the success of this project and happy to share in the accolades with ABC. But we find it very disturbing that ABC is now trying to grab credit for work it did not do.

Letter from Ben Sherwood about Center for Public Integrity Pulitzer

Letter from Bill Buzenberg to Ben Sherwood

Center for Public Integrity letter to Sig Gissler

Related links: CPI stories | ABC News stories Read more

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ABC News says Center for Public Integrity should share Pulitzer for investigative reporting

This is the top of the letter that ABC President Ben Sherwood sent to William Buzenberg and his organization’s board members Tuesday asking The Center for Public Integrity to share Pulitzer Prize credit.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to WIlliam Buzenberg, executive director of The Center for Public Integrity, asking CPI to share credit for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby this week. The letter was sent to the CPI board and was obtained by Poynter.org.

“You seem to be determined that ABC was simply a megaphone for Chris Hamby’s work,” Sherwood wrote. Sherwood said ABC’s investigative reporter Brian Ross and producer Matt Mosk should “share” in the Pulitzer and Sherwood says he intends to take the matter up with the Pulitzer board.

The work at the center of this spat exposed how doctors and lawyers worked with the coal industry to deny sick miners black-lung medical benefits. In response Johns Hopkins suspended its black lung program and Congress and the Labor Department reacted.

-See the collection of ABC News stories

-See the collection of CPI stories

Sherwood says in his letter that ABC and CPI spent a year working as equal partners in the investigation of “how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease, resulting in remedial legislative efforts.”  In fact, the two news organizations have shared other big journalism prizes for this investigation including the Goldsmith Award. But when CPI sent the entry to the Pulitzer Committee, the nominating letter said:

“Months into the reporting, the Center shared its findings with the ABC News investigative unit, whose broadcasts help reach a wider audience. ABC produced a 10-minute ‘Nightline’ segment focusing on the unit at Johns Hopkins, building from the Center’s work and airing the evening of the Center’s publication of part two.”

Sherwood said that the nominating letter is wrong. Sherwood says the partnership began October 31, 2012 and ABC said it had promises from CPI that it would be a “true partnership.”  Sherwood wrote to Buzenberg:

“In your submission to the Pulitzer committee, you omitted the names of ABC News reporters and sought to parse and diminish their contributions, even though their bylines appropriately appear on four of the eight articles submitted by the Center to the committee. (Surprisingly, Chris Hamby’s byline appears in bold face type in the Pulitzer submissions, although that was not the case when the articles actually appeared online.”)

Buzenberg told me late Tuesday evening in a phone interview, “ABC has a very very inflated idea of their role in this investigation.” He continued, “The facts are the facts. The CPI’s Chris Hamby wrote the stories that were submitted to the (Pulitzer) committee.” He said Hamby pored through 1,500 medical cases and reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents.  (Read Chris Hamby’s own account of how the story came to be.)

Sherwood said ABC News has “nothing but the highest admiration for the work of Chris Hamby” but said “CPI alone did not win this honor.” He asked, “Do you really believe that Hamby and CPI would have been recognized with this honor without the contributions of ABC News?”

Buzenberg said, “Brian Ross is a great reporter, these are great people, they did great television reports.” But Buzenberg said ABC is “ex-post facto trying to grab” a piece of the Pulitzer by using “a big PR effort.”  After our phone conversation, Buzenberg wrote me an email saying:

Three times ABC SVP for communications Jeffrey W. Schneider threatened me and the Center saying they would make this very “messy” for us unless they got what they wanted, which is a share of the investigation prize that they did not earn under the Pulitzer rules. ABC does great TV. They did not write the entries or spend a year doing this investigation with all these documents and data, as we did, as confirmed again today by the Pulitzer Administrator. Those are the facts.”

ABC may find the Pulitzer’s rules make it impossible for it to be a part of one of journalism’s most celebrated awards. Buzenberg sent me an email that he said he got from Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler saying the award belongs to Hamby, not ABC:

Bill:  I’ve reviewed the entry again. It is overwhelmingly Hamby’s work and was entered by the center in conformance with our rules on limited partnerships (SEE BELOW). The rules expressly state that the eligible entity must do the preponderance of the work; specific elements produced by the ineligible entity (such as ABC video) cannot be entered; and if there is a prize it will go ONLY to the eligible organization that submitted the work.

So, based on the entry, the prize to the Hamby alone is warranted.

Best, SG

The email has this attachment:

PULITZER GUIDELINES

Q: Can an eligible news organization enter work that is published in partnership with an ineligible organization, such as a magazine or television station? A: Yes, but only under certain circumstances. Such a partnership is permitted if the eligible organization (1) does the preponderance of the work and (2) publishes the work first, or at least simultaneously. It is up to the entrant to demonstrate convincingly in its entry letter and in the composition of its entry that it primarily conceived and produced the work and that the entry rests on the basic foundation provided by the eligible entity. Specific elements produced by the ineligible entity, such as video, are disqualified and should not be submitted. Eligibility decisions, as necessary, will be made on a case-by-case basis. If the entry wins a prize, it will go only to the eligible news organization that submitted the work.

 

The Pulitzer rules further state who may enter. The rules say that broadcasters may not enter except as a lesser partner, which CPI argues ABC was:

“Entries must be based on material coming from a United States newspaper or news site that publishes at least weekly during the calendar year and that adheres to the highest journalistic principles. Magazines and broadcast media, and their respective Web sites, are not eligible. Entries that involve collaboration between an eligible organization and ineligible media will be considered if the eligible organization does the preponderance of the work and publishes it first.”

It is a sad postscript to a remarkable work of journalism produced by two of America’s most important investigative newsrooms. The disagreement over a prize should not tarnish Chris Hamby’s work and ABC News’ work. Indeed, we need more of that kind of journalism. It would be a pity if this moment of friction also stops other media organizations from working together to tell stories that need to be told. The cost of doing this work is often too much for one news organization to handle. Together they can reach bigger audiences and right wrongs. CPI said that was precisely why it joined forces with ABC, to increase the reach of the story.

The biggest honor that comes from this work won’t arrive as a trophy or even a cash prize. It will arrive when sick and dying coal miners get the health care they deserve. This investigation gave them hope. You can’t put that reward on a shelf. Read more

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Why no Pulitzer Prize for feature writing? Here are four theories

Once again the Pulitzer Prize board has decided to withhold a prize – this time in the category of feature writing. It is in our nature as journalists to wonder why. When this news hit the streets, I tracked down the three stories selected as finalists and tried to read into them any deficiency that might disqualify them as prize-worthy. This is not the way I like to read.

What follows is not a reported piece but an exercise in mind-reading. I have been a Pulitzer juror on four occasions — twice as chair of jury for general nonfiction books, once in commentary, and once in feature writing. The year I sat on the feature writing jury, the board chose not to select any of our three finalists, but picked a winner from another category, something that they could have done this year, but chose not to. I understand the practical limitations and politics of the Pulitzer process and offer these remarks in hopes of consoling those who devote themselves to feature writing.

Let me begin by congratulating the three finalists, their editors, and their news organizations. It is gratifying in an era of shrinking news resources to see such exceptional work:

• Scott Farwell, Dallas Morning News, for a series of stories on a horrific case of child abuse and its continuing consequences.

• Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times, for a series of stories on a deranged former police officer who went on a vengeful nine-day killing spree.

• Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for a series of stories on medical students and their connection to bodies donated for medical research.

If I were the editor of a metropolitan newspaper, I would be honored to have any of these three writers on my staff. Had any one of them captured a Pulitzer Prize, I, for one, would not have raised an eyebrow. Absent any special knowledge of how these pieces were reported or written, I saw nothing in them that would question their quality, authenticity or veracity. There is nothing to see here, folks, except hard-working journalists engaged in enterprise reporting. I hope all three are gratified to know that it is much harder to become a finalist than win a prize.

Something unfortunate and unintended happens any time the Pulitzer Board decides not to give a prize in a particular category.  A finalist in any other category has his or her work honored unconditionally. The lack of a winner in a category casts a pall on all the finalists, calling attention to their imagined deficiencies rather than their capacities.

It is within this context of respect for the three finalists that I am going to say some things about them collectively that will be misinterpreted as negative criticism. My purpose in doing so is not to disparage them in any way, but to imagine the complex set of forces at work that might result in the withholding of the ultimate prize.

Theory One: Genre confusion. These three works are not, strictly speaking, feature stories. Each is multi-part series with all the peculiar strengths and weaknesses that attach. Although series have won this award in the past, so have single stories or a portfolio of features on a variety of topics. While a series offers depth of reporting and opportunities for narrative writing, it can lack the focused power of a single story. Think of  famous magazine pieces such as “The Falling Man” by Tom Junod or “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese.

Theory Two: Reading fatigue. These works – at least the versions I read online – are long, long, long, so long that I had to devote most of yesterday to reading them closely enough to offer these judgments. I hope I am not biased by having written a book called “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.” The value on length should always be proportionality, a length that justifies the topic and commands the reader’s attention. I can attest that when you are judging a writing contest, long work feels even longer. In all three works, the writing at the top and at the end was stronger than the writing in the middle, a classic problem that might complicate the judging.

Theory Three: The morbid truth. These are hard stories to read individually because of their topics. Collectively, they can depress the reader, even an earnest Pulitzer board member. Great journalism is about the morbid truth, there can be no denying that fact. But it is hard to read thousands of words about the horrible torture of a child, or innocents gunned down by a madman. The story of the medical students might have served as an antidote to the darkness, except so much of it is about cutting up corpses.

Theory Four: The hung jury. With 17 board members, it requires nine votes to select a winner (not as tough as Cooperstown, folks). At times, a single entry stands high above the rest. That was not the case here. How would I have voted? I could have voted for Scott Farwell for giving us a character for whom there is a glimmer of hope for a decent life against the backdrop of the worst kind of cruelty. I could have voted for Christopher Goffard for a serial narrative that has riveting elements of a true crime adventure. I could have voted for Mark Johnson for taking us into a world we knew existed, but never hoped to see up close. If pressed, I would have given the nod to Goffard.

The Pulitzer board had the opportunity to find a winner in the feature writing category. They see everything. They might have asked the jury to put forward one or two additional finalists. They could have selected finalists from a related category – such as explanatory journalism – and moved it. But folks involved in this process, however dedicated to the work, can suffer from judging fatigue and, whatever the allure of the Upper West Side, want to get back home. Read more

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