20 Apr 2009 8:27 am   //   Filed under: In the news, Media

One story that ought to win a Pulitzer

The Pulitzer Prizes will be announced today at 3 p.m.

The Pulitzers are good fun, and when they’re announced, hysteria ensues at news publications. This happens even though the contest has some branding problems. The Pulitzers honor a broad range of categories including drama, literature and music—Did you know Bob Dylan won a Pulitzer last year?—but most people think them only as prizes for journalism. Even then, they’re hardly a reflection of the year’s best journalism. They’re limited to American newspapers and Web sites, and thus ignore great swaths of the journalism landscape (such as The New Yorker, 60 Minutes and Photo District News [kidding]). The prizes always tilt in favor of the old guard of East Coast-based national newspapers. But whoever said life was fair?

Of course we cover the photo categories at PDN. The game plan is easy: At 3 p.m., I open the Pulitzer web site and hit “reload” every few seconds. (I don’t bother riding uptown to the press conference.) I’ll also check Editor & Publisher, Yahoo! News and a few other sites. One way or another, I’ll have the winners list by 3:15. I’ll immediately copy and paste the photography winners onto the PDNOnline Twitter feed and I’ll post a story a few minutes later on the PDN site. I’ll have a shell story entered into our CMS in advance to save a few seconds of typing (“The 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography went to TK….”). I have no clue who’s going to win and guessing would be unproductive, given that I’ve always guessed wrong in the past.

However, on this blog, I will venture a guess in the Feature Writing category. This story should win: A Butler Well Served by This Election by Wil Haygood of the Washington Post.

UPDATE: I was wrong about the Feature Writing category. However, I announced the two photo winners on Twitter at 3:00 and 3:01, and had a story live at 3:08 p.m. Not bad.