Seth Godin posted an uncharacteristically negative bit today about the qualifications for the new Pulitzer prize guidelines:
You’re not going to win a Pulitzer Prize…
… and neither am I. Nor will any blogger, including those far more deserving.
The Pulitzer folks, stewards of one of the most influential and important awards in any field, have just announced their new rules. You can win a Pulitzer for commentary online now, but only if the place you post your commentary is a significant news gathering site. You know, sites like MinnPost and Voice of San Diego. So, Tom Friedman can win a well-deserved prize for writing what is essentially a blog for the NY Times, but if he goes off on his own, he’s out.
What a shame.
I took a look at the guidelines, because Ostrow posted something on this over at Mashable when the news broke:
Since 2006 the award committee has accepted submissions from stories appearing on the websites of newspapers, like say – The New York Times – but the new guidelines would seemingly open up the prize to online-only outlets like, you know, Mashable (lol).
According to a statement issued today, the basic criteria for qualifying organizations are that they “publish at least weekly … are primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing stories … and adhere to the highest journalistic principles.” Video, however, is still off-limits.
Finding the part of the Pulitzer website that talks about this is a bit difficult, but here’s the relevant section of the guidelines:
Entries for journalism awards may be made by any individual based on material coming from a text-based United States newspaper or news organization that publishes —in print or online—at least weekly during the calendar year; that is primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing stories; and that adheres to the highest journalistic principles. Printed magazines and broadcast media, and their respective Web sites, are not eligible.
So in theory, any blog that centers around news should qualify. The real question is whether or not we’ll see any New Media organizations, or simply Old Media organizations that are publishing now primarily online. Given that the nominations are based loosely on the connections of the Pulitzer Prize board, and it looks completely dominated by Old Media luminaries, there’s a good chance that Godin is completely correct.
It’s sorta like the idea that anyone can win the office of president, but in reality only a certain class of US citizen generally does. In theory a political outsider who represents change and new ideas for America can win. In practice, it’s always an Ivy Leaguer from the two most corrupt and nepotistic organizations in US history, the Republican or Democratic Parties.