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First Pulitzer Awarded To an Online News Site 60

Hugh Pickens writes "The Columbia Spectator reports that ProPublica, an independent, non-profit online newsroom, is the first online organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. Propublica reporter Sheri Fink won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for her story about the deadly choices faced at one New Orleans hospital in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The winning article was published in the New York Times Magazine and on Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler says that ProPublica's model represents a mode of journalism that will become increasingly influential, as fewer resources for investigative journalism remain available at the disposal of news outlets. In addition to ProPublica, another online entry won for the first time in the category of cartooning — Mark Fiore was awarded a Pulitzer for his self-syndicated animated cartoons, which appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle website."
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First Pulitzer Awarded To an Online News Site

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  • Fiore's Flash Hell (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I enjoy Fiore's work, but the site is flash hell. Nobody in iPad land is going to see it....
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by pavon ( 30274 )

      Also, for those at work without headphones, they require audio - no dialog buttons.

    • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:04PM (#31839570) Journal

      I enjoy Fiore's work

      I enjoyed his original works back in the day when he primarily pointed out the absurdities of our political system and the leaders thereof. Then he started actively pushing his own political viewpoint and ceased being funny. Jon Stewart has done much the same thing in the last year or so, though he still has occasional moments of genius. I forgive him for his political proselytizing when he roasts the media, particularly the cable media and it's 24 hour news cycle.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:34PM (#31841060)

        Other than being pro-healthcare reform I don't think Stewart's pushed any particular political viewpoint this year. Frequently it seems like he has to really stretch when he skewers Obama and friends, but I think that, other than Biden, that's mostly because Obama and his circle don't seem to run their mouths the way others have and therefore just aren't such easy targets.

        • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          Other than being pro-healthcare reform I don't think Stewart's pushed any particular political viewpoint this year.

          I seem to remember him pushing some other viewpoints in the past but I honestly haven't watched the show lately. Even if that's all he's doing though it irks me. He did a skit once upon a time about celebrities and political endorsements, the crux of which was "Why is your opinion more important than John Q. Public?" Now he's pushing his own political opinions.

          I like him when he goes back to his roots of digging out absurdity and broadcasting it in the most comedic fashion possible.

        • He does stretch a little on Obama, but I think that he does skewer him because he has to show fairness and do it to everyone.

          Everything else he does though, has the undeniable ring of truth to it. When he caught FOX with it's pants down about children being indoctrinated in "The Cult of Obama" he was right on, as he is with just about everything else he does.

          He backs up everything he reports with fact. Every politician who flips on an issue, he has the old clip where he says one thing and another when he

      • American political debate in C: while (1) { printf("Left wing talking point\nRight wing talking point\n"); }

        Since it's not really off topic on a media-related discussion: is there really a left-wing talking point in american media? I thougt all left-wing speakers had been silenced long ago?

        • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          I thougt all left-wing speakers had been silenced long ago?

          The left wing would like you to believe that, but it's not the case. Hell, to be fair, the right wing would also make the same claim. I'm skeptical of both. There are media outlets in the US that tilt in either direction (Fox News and MSNBC being the easiest to single out) and which may well muzzle opposing viewpoints -- but there are ample other media outlets that will allow those viewpoints to be heard.

          The claim that one side or the other has been silenced is just partisan posturing.

          • Thanks for answering, but are you sure?
            I don't know MSNBC personnally, but from what wikipedia says, it's relatively liberal comparing to other networks, but it's not a left-wing media. So if debating in american media occurs between center-right speakers and far-right speakers it confirms the claim that left-wing speakers have been silenced. Or I am understanding something wrong?
            • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

              it's relatively liberal comparing to other networks, but it's not a left-wing media.

              It is by American standards. What's considered mainstream left in much of the world would be considered a fringe movement here. The fact that most media outlets won't cater to such a movement doesn't represent a conspiracy -- it simply means that they are catering to the wider audience.

              Libertarian ideas have the same problem meeting acceptance in the mainstream media -- but I don't see many Libertarians making the claim that they are being muzzled by the media.

              • It is by American standards.

                Well, I understand it better now, thanks.
                But who defines american standards? Congress, Senate, Ministry of Information, media owners, journalist's trade unions?

                • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

                  The American people define them. If European style leftism or Libertarianism had a larger following then you would find media that catered to them. It would be a money making venture for the owners of said media, so there would be no reason not to do it.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      >> Nobody in iPad land is going to see it....

      I am sure he wont regret loss of 8 readers though.
    • I enjoy Fiore's work, but the site is flash hell. Nobody in iPad land is going to see it....

      Of course, the world revolves around consumers of Apple products. They chose their product based on design and brand name rather than functionality, so if it doesn't fully function it's pretty much their own fault.

  • by wwwrench ( 464274 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:00PM (#31839534) Homepage
    Propublica is pretty awesome, and their recent piece about Magnetar, and the market crash is a great example of that. [] And with the recent videos released by wikileaks of the US military mowing down civilians, it seems more and more, it is alternative media which is doing real journalism. Newspapers claim they are loosing money because of internet news and thus can't afford to do investigative reporting. Propublica and wikileaks are the other side of that coin.
    • by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:06PM (#31839580) Homepage Journal

      And with the recent videos released by wikileaks of the US military mowing down civilians, it seems more and more, it is alternative media which is doing real journalism.

      Yeah, members of the, 'official,' news agencies like Reuters are just running around getting themselves shot by helicopters. Slackers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nedlohs ( 1335013 )

        Did they not learn that reporters are supposed to report the news not be the news. Damn celebrity culture!

  • by ShadowRangerRIT ( 1301549 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:03PM (#31839556)
    Somewhat off-topic, but I'd like to note another first from this year's Pulitzers: Gene Weingarten became the only journalist in history to win the Pulitzer in feature writing twice. The award this year was for his piece Fatal Distraction [], the previous for Pearls Before Breakfast []. Both are very well done (obviously; they both won the Pulitzer), but in a completely different style each time.
    • Completely different style? Am I the first person to think "plagiarism" when hearing those words?

      • Really? That's your first thought? You live in a very sad world if that's the first thing that leaps to mind (either that, or you're a teacher). By "style" I really meant "tone" of each piece, so I apologize if I misled. Beyond that, it would be damn difficult to "plagiarize" articles where he interviewed a dozen subjects or more in each case without someone noticing, such as the famous violinist he recruited to run the experiment for the earlier piece, or one of the numerous parents interviewed for the lat
        • by t0p ( 1154575 )
          Oh come on! The GP obviously didn't bother reading the prize-winning articles, he just jumped in straight away with the defamation. Which is reasonable, I think - unless you're suggesting it is now all of a sudden necessary to have some justification for random denigration of others' success?
        • I think it has more to do with the plagiarism scandals that rocked the newspaper industry a few years ago. Guess I'm more jaded than I realized.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The award this year was for his piece Fatal Distraction

      I just read that for the first time. Thanks for ruining my day, jerk!

  • National Enquirer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prakslash ( 681585 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:04PM (#31839568)
    Another closely watched entry in this year's competition was National Enquirer's outing of John Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter.
    I guess the Enquirer didn't win. Othewise, it would have been another first - a Pulitzer awarded to a tabloid.
  • Pamela Jones? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e9th ( 652576 ) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:07PM (#31839586)
    Sheri Fink certainly deserves recognition for her compelling story, but surely PJ over at Groklaw [] also deserves recognition from the mainstream media for her amazing work over the years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Didn't we just see a story about a week ago about Groklaw's content being requested for archiving in the Library of Congress? I'd say that's some pretty good recognition....
    • I fear PJ will only get the Pulitzer after SCO is DEAD DEAD DEAD, and that's gonna take a while... damn corporate vampires!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZG-Rules ( 661531 )

      No, she doesn't. She's not in this league.

      I understand what you are saying and I feel passionate about digital rights, but the choice of subject and telling of that ProPublica article are far far more important to Humanity than copyright law will ever be. Please feel free to ask Pamela if she agrees with that, but I think she might.

      I'm a dispassionate geek. I understand logical and pragmatic choices. That's what I trained to do and to be honest, I'm extremely good at it.

      This story still moved me.

      I don't thi

  • Really? The editor over there is named Sig Gissler?

    Maybe I should buy stock now, because I am reminded of a classic passage from HHGTTG:

    Shortly after this, the Guide was taken over by Megadodo Publications of Ursa Minor Beta, thus putting the whole thing on a very sound financial footing, and allowing the fourth editor, Lig Lury Jr, to embark on lunch-breaks of such breathtaking scope that even the efforts of recent editors, who have started undertaking sponsored lunch-breaks for charity, seem like mere s

  • by AlgorithMan ( 937244 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:19PM (#31839700) Homepage
    They should have given it to Wikileaks...
    • That's true. Given their recent editorial bias, they certainly qualify as a news organization.

      • That's true. Given their recent editorial bias, they certainly qualify as a news organization.

        Yup. I have no problem with advocacy journalism. That's the way they do it in the UK, and they still have good reporting from both right and left. I think you're being honest if you admit up front where your sympathies are. But Wikileaks gives names to their stuff like "Collateral Murder", and they still want to be considered non-partisan. Sorry, doesn't work that way. If you put a spin on the story, you're taking sides. Again, that's fine... but be honest about it up front.

        • Absolutely. I have no problem with bias, as long as it's admitted. I actually prefer UK journalism just for that fact alone, even though I'm not a citizen. For local news I have to depend on our national papers, but for global news I tend to seek out UK papers as much as possible.

          • Absolutely. I have no problem with bias, as long as it's admitted.

            I beg to differ []

            • I'm sorry ... were you trying to make some sort of point?

              • No, just a joke, at the expense of the ultraconservatives.

                Conservapedia makes a point of admitting bias, and also admitting that it has no intention of toning such bias down, but it's a hard read without the bile in your throat rising.

                Hence I wrote "I beg to differ", because those who claim they can tolerate open bias, never know for sure until they've read conservapedia. ;-)

                (To reiterate: It's a joke; I'm not calling you a liar.)

                • Gotcha. Yeah, that site is shit, and I have no great desire to read it. On the other hand, sometimes it's useful to read stuff like that, as long as you understand the bias upfront.

                  As Christopher Hitchens said in a great interview with the SGU (paraphrasing here):

                  "I don't read the news to find out what's going on in the world. I'd be a fool to do that. I read the news so that when I meet you the next day, I'll know what YOU think you're talking about."

                  I pretty much agree with that 100%. It's useful to

    • by t0p ( 1154575 )
      I disagree. Wikileaks do vital work and all that, but what they do isn't journalism.
    • Let me know when Slashdot wins or is nominated. Does the Pulitzer Foundation give out Karma Points?

  • Michael Yon (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:58PM (#31840022)

    Should have gotten a Pulitzer for his reporting and photography in Afghanistan.

  • Somewhere... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by bmo ( 77928 )

    ...Rupert Murdoch is raging, yelling, and throwing things, and plotting a way to destroy ProPublica.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    ProPublica does ORIGINAL NEWS REPORTING AND INVESTIGATING! They do not simply look for work SOMEONE ELSE has already done, link to it, throw some Generation Slacker 3.0 commentary and proclaim they are a real journalist, all while never leaving their mom's basement. ProPublica pounds the sidewalks, looks for stories and then creates something original.

    You want your press pass and freedom of the press cred? Do the same, instead of being a non-contributing leech riding the coattails of real journalists.

  • So a body that represents the status quo has given an award to some mainstream journalist who decided to publish their stuff on the web. They completely ignored wiki-leaks, and other sites that are focusing in on issues that will actually affect our society, and instead focus on journalists who worry about such important issues as Papal sex scandals that happed 20 years ago. The reason people are not tuning into TV / newspapers is not because of competition from this newfangled interweby thing, it is bec

  • Except not quite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ubernostrum ( 219442 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:21PM (#31841600) Homepage

    Unless you carefully restrict your definition of "online" to rule out any online publication owned or operated by a company which also happens to have non-online ventures, this doesn't hold up: Politifact, a political fact-checking site, won a Pulitzer last year [] for fact-checking the 2008 US federal election campaigns. Maybe you can make the argument that, because it's operated by a company which also prints papers, it's not really "online", but given that the whole operation was on the Web (and utterly dependent on the Web to work) I'd have a hard time accepting that.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle