OLD Media Moves

Why no Pulitzer for coverage of the financial meltdown?

April 21, 2009

Roy Harris, who authored a book last year about the Pulitzer Prizes and has been a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal for 23 years, answered questions from Washington Post readers Tuesday about Monday’s Pulitzer winners.

Here is an excerpt:

Evanston, Ill.: Why were there no Pulitzers for financial journalism? Is the Financial Times not included in the eligible pool? Steven Pearlstein for the WaPo or Nouriel Roubini for Forbes would be unassailable choices. The FT is loaded with the likes of Krishna Guha, Gillian Tett and Martin Wolf. Justin Lahart for the WSJ would be a good choice as well. Gretchen Morgenson for the NYT deserves one. Mike Whitney who writes for counterpunch.org was so far ahead of the curve it is scary.

Roy Harris: There’s not a separate category for financial journalism — but it has gotten a lot of attention, and recognition, from the Pulitzers. Especially in recent years.

Pearlstein did in fact WIN a Pulitzer last year. It was won of the Washington Post’s six prizes in all, a record year for the Post in terms of numbers. Gretchen Morgenson is also a past winner.

The Financial Times isn’t eligible because it’s British. Forbes writers wouldn’t qualify because their with magazines, which have their own (non-Pulitzer) prizes, the National Magazine Awards, or “Ellies.”

In 2007 the Wall Street Journal — something of a Pulitzer machine over the past dozen years or so — won the public service medal for explaining stock-option backdating. And this year, the New York Times’ coverage of the financial meltdown was a public-service finalist. In my view, it suggested that the board may have thought NO publication quite did a Pulitzer-level job of preparing the public for what hit us in September.

Read more here.

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