When the Pulitzer Prize Board announced last year it would emphasize real-time reporting for the Breaking News category starting in 2012, some speculated whether we would someday see a Pulitzer Prize for tweeting.
As it turns out, this year’s winner came pretty close.
The prize for Breaking News went to a small newspaper that combined old-fashioned field reporting with a new tool, Twitter, after a tornado devastated swaths of Tuscaloosa, Ala., on April 27, 2011.
The storm knocked out power, and for a couple days The Tuscaloosa News relied on backup generators that could power only a handful of newsroom computers. Phone lines were dead and cell towers were jammed.
“Calls couldn’t get through,” City Editor Katherine Lee told me, “but texts and tweets could.”
Twitter carried the first reports
As reporters and photographers fanned out across the city to survey the damage, they live-tweeted what they saw and learned. Read more