December 4, 2017

The Pulitzer Prizes announced Monday a change to the Breaking News reporting category, according to a press release

Previously, a newsroom could only enter the category if the breaking news was local. Now, "breaking news entries will now include coverage related to news events of consequence, whether they are produced by a local, state or national news organization. The award goes to the story, or series of stories, that capture events accurately as they occur and also expands on the initial coverage."

Since 1998, the prize has gone to local newsrooms covering breaking news, including The Denver Post's coverage of Columbine, The Times-Picayune for coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and most recently The East Bay Times for coverage of the Ghost Ship fire. The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times have all won for covering local breaking news. 

“With this change, the Pulitzer Board wants to be clear that it welcomes breaking news entries in the broadest sense,” said Dana Canedy, Pulitzer Prize administrator, in the press release. “Prize-worthy journalism in the Breaking News category considers not just the magnitude of the event but the quality of the journalism."

The news might not seem great for local newsrooms. But aside from the breaking category, local news won Pulitzers last year in the editorial category, investigative reporting, feature photography and editorial cartooning and the Miami Herald and McClatchy were part of the Panama Papers win. 

The Pulitzers are accepting entries now for the 2018 prizes. You have until Jan. 25, 2018 to enter. 

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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