PULITZER PRIZES MYOPIA

Files under General | Nov 30th

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Jeff Jarvis says that “the Pulitzer Prize has long been a dangerous influence in American journalism, and it’s only getting worse.”

He is right.

For too long, newspapers have been edited for prize juries not their publics, taking resources away from local reporting to write long, show-off pieces that don’t necessarily serve their communities and that skew the priorities of newsrooms.

The Pulitzer Prize is so print-oriented that Jarvis is asking for big changes:

Last year, the Pulitzers allowed just a little bit of online content to qualify for a prize. This year, they open that up to include “a full array of online material-such as databases, interactive graphics, and streaming video.” But they still insist, stubbornly, to award only journalism from newspapers.

Eligibility for entering the competition will continue to be restricted to newspapers published daily, Sunday, or at least once a week during the calendar year. “This keeps faith with the historic mandate of the Pulitzer Prizes,” Gissler said.

I thought the Pulitzers existed to award journalism, not printing.

His request:

Esteemed jurors: Open up the prize. Award great journalism wherever and however and by whomever it is committed.

This print-myopia remembers me my suggestions more than 10 year ago at the board of directors of the then Society of “Newspaper” Design (SND).

My proposal was to change the name to Society of “News” Design, a change that will keep the name of SND but will open the group to the new multi-media platforms.

There was a lot of opposition (and still the issue arises voices of dissent) but finally my proposal was accepted and the SND changed the name.

Unfortunately the annual SND Awards still are dominated by the print ones but online news-design was accepted much more before to what the Pulitzer Prizes are ready to admit.

The same we did with the Malofiej Infographic Awards that since many years ago accepts online infographic entries.

Well, the Pulitzer Prizes are reluctant to online journalism, as they were late to embrace infographics in the new category of “explanatory journalism.”

American newspapers are slow to adapt to the new multimedia journalism challenge, and perhaps the Pulitzer board of directors must be sacked.

Joseph Pulitzer was more open minded that this group of cronies.



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