Where’s The Pulitzer Buzz?

Anybody else notice how quiet it's been on the Pulitzer Prize front this year? The announcement of this year's winners is just a few days away—but there doesn't seem to be a lot of chatter or speculation about them.

That's a real contrast to years past, when journalists would gossip about possible winners and lists of alleged finalists would leak a few weeks before the award. But I've been asking around, and this year there seems to have been no leaks and little, if any speculation.

With newspapers still fighting for survival, newsrooms apparently have other priorities. The veteran editor of one daily tells me he'd even forgotten the Pulitzers were coming up. A friend who works in an oft-honored Pulitzer newsroom says there's been little if any buzz about this year's awards in his shop.

It's a sign of the times, er, Times, I guess. As in the record industry, where business woes have made the Grammy Awards a much less important event over the past few years, the usual excitement about the premier journalism honor apparently is taking a backseat to just getting the daily journalism jobs done. Or maybe it's just that the Pulitzer board's longstanding efforts to crack down on leaks have killed the usual chatter.

That's not true of all the Pulitzers: on the cultural side, there's buzz on arts sites about possible winners for drama and literature. And one horoscope site is promising Sagittarians that they've got a shot at a Pulitzer Prize…in August. Now that would be a prize-winning story!

Update: I agree with Jim Romenesko's observation that Joe Strupp's departure from the Pulitzer beat has helped quiet things down. But I think there's also less interest this year because newsrooms have more critical priorities.

3 thoughts on “Where’s The Pulitzer Buzz?

  1. Maybe it’s because we’ve been so focused on journalists trying to survive in war zones or dangerous situations. My attention right now is more on the journalists being held in Libya or those who were killed or injured on the job in the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and elsewhere.

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  2. To my knowledge, the lion’s share of sleuthing on Pulitzers was done by the late and great Deborah Howell of Newhouse. But when she became Ombudsman of The Washington Post she was in a bind and, so far as I know, opted out. I know Joe Strupp picked it up somewhat, but the pioneer in this little game was Deborah. (She did a lot of other great things.)

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  3. Matt Storin is right. When I became vice president for news of Knight Ridder, Deborah called to say that part of my job was to quiz Knight Ridder jurors and report to her. I, of course, couldn’t say no to Deborah, and the system worked flawlessly for years.

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