Pulitzers, Steps and Missteps

A few quick observations about the Pulitzers.

Not sure why the drama folk are so exercised about the win for Next to Normal. First the LA Times writer who was a member of the jury complained. Then the NY Times weighed in. I don’t know if they were upset about the process or about the quality of the selection. Maybe the rules need to be changed.

The judgment I question is giving Kathleen Parker the prize for commentary. Ain’t nothin’ distinguished about someone who writes for the National Review even though she won the prize for commentary in the Washington Post.

P.S. It is so typically low rent of the Washington Times to ignore the Post’s awards.

The Post’s Gene Weingarten fully deserved his prize for feature writing. I adored reading “Below the Beltway” when I visited Larry in Arlington. Here’s a sample column.

It’s thrilling that ProPublica shared the prize for investigative reporting. The gruesome story of death at a New Orleans hospital left me shaken. The prize revived those awful images of patients left to die.

Another recent story about Magnetar turned my stomach in a different fashion. The weasel “financial engineers” who bet against their own investors and bought the riskiest pieces of mortgage backed securities should be denied the right to handle other people’s money and forced to pay back every dime they invested. A good jail term would help, too. Just as I wondered who would invest with a firm named Cerberus Capital after the dog that guards the gates of hell, I’m now wondering about anyone investing with something named after a black hole. ProPublica teams up with the NY Times and with public radio at this point, but maybe the non-profit model on-line model will save journalism after all.

I won’t comment on the “letters” prizes except to say congrats to Wesleyan University Press for poetry. I intend to read the winners and will report on them as I go along.

And finally, it is truly wonderful that a small newspaper won the public service award. I love the description of “murky mismanagement” concerning $25 million in gas royalties. I’m not sure why the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier didn’t receive advance warning of the prize. Others did. But the important thing is that it won.


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