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Pulitzer.com

23/04/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

Does anybody still care about the Pulitzer Prize? As I write, the latest recipients of the prize are about to be announced – but interest seems curiously muted. Usually, the names of the winners are leaked to the US media. Not this year. Has the Pulitzer security gotten tighter? Or has interest waned?

Now that the media world has convinced itself that the printed press is dying, the Pulitzer seems dated. A journalist named Joseph Pulitzer created the prize in 1911 to award America's best journalism. There are also categories for literature and song writing. The prize is administered by Columbia University, home of America's most famous journalism school. Past winners include Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer and William Faulkner. Not exactly bloggers, those three.

Yet digital media advocates say the next generation of journalists should concentrate more on adapting to technology than winning Pulitzers. Long-form journalism is dead: we live in a world of blog posts and sound bites; or even worse, of tweets. No more than 140 characters, thank you.

Fortunately, the Pulitzer itself is adapting. Since last autumn, websites that report original news at least weekly are eligible. Those who have entered work include the St. Louis Beacon, Voice of San Diego, and the Center for Independent Media. Just because web journalism is concise, it does not mean that it cannot be well written. The Pulitzer is still a powerful brand – and it's something to strive for.

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