Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More Pulitzers the Enquirer didn't win

The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism were announced on Monday. The Washington Post won six, the New York Times two, and the Enquirer zero. Again.

Smaller papers weren't shut out. The Concord (N.H.) Monitor for feature photography, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for local reporting. The award for Milwaukee isn't as good as the Enquirer's Best of Gannett for local-local reporting, because the Enquirer's award is one more.

Other smaller papers were finalists: The Portland Oregonian, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald Tribune, the Bergen Record, the Rocky Mountain News, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. No award was given this year for editorial writing. Didn't the Enquirer submit its Marcus Fiesel work?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't call Portland and the Plain Dealer small papers, but both have been competitive in the Pulitzer chase for many years.

The Chiquita mess very likely is still haunting the newspaper in the minds of Pulitzer jurors. While the New York Times (Jayson Blair) and the Washington Post (Janet Dubois) both had their Waterloo, the long-term depth of reporting at both was able to overcome those disgraces. The Enquirer is not in that league.

The Enquirer does have something to prove, but a serious question to consider is whether its Gannett-politics-minded editors care.

Winning Best of Gannett, in their world, actually is more important. The difference, of course, is that the Pulitzers are globally recognized as the gold standard in journalism and Best of Gannett, to be frank, isn't.

Newsroom changes haven't helped at the Enquirer. There are some bright spots, but they seem to be diminishing.

It also doesn't help when top editors basically dismantle and hide the Business section, from which a reasonable number of stories regularly made Page 1 until relatively recently. Does anybody know what happened there? Was it staff turnover or philosophy change? Why would you do that in a big-business city?

On a brighter note, there is hope. The Enquirer's information center one day may produce an integrated, compelling report on something of real interest that might be a Pulitzer candidate. It has the potential.

There also is a strategy to thinking through what a Pulitzer candidate might be. Regardless of the topic, execution is key. After all, the Star-Tribune had a ready-made candidate in the bridge collapse last year but the troubled newspaper couldn't pull it off.

So what are the topics the Enquirer might engage on in a meaningful way?

-30-

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, no Gannett papers won Pulitzers this year. Is it the company? Is it the paper? Doubtful.

Lots of reporters and lots of papers will not win Pulitzers this year or in their lifetimes...it is hardly special to the Enquirer.

Not only that, but prizes aren't even encouraged. Hell, I bet Tom Callinan doesn't even apply for those non-Gannett awards.

In amusing news - I heard Hollis Towns was on the Pulitzer committee...is that true?

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:07 - It's been a while, but I believe the business section's newshole, as well as newshole from other parts of the paper were cut so that it all could be shifted to create the Hometown Enquirer sections.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Kevin LeMaster said...

^ What? Those sections are WORTHLESS.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for the Washington Post, but word on the street is that more cuts are coming in the Post's newsroom. Plus, I've noticed that the editing of many stories there has gotten sloppy lately.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous CLC said...

Totally agree -- Hometown Enquirer needs to stop! Bring back some solid business reporting, improve the features section, add some local columnists. Honestly, editors even think that the Hometown Enquirer is good journalism?

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blogs and journalism-types might be surprised to know that many top editors in the industry are doing the new NON-journalism things that bloggers and journalism-types hate because they're hoping to save journalism jobs.

i don't know about the cincinnati enquirer, but for the moment, most newspapers are really focused on surviving the economic downturn and the shift in the economic model, which is dictating the need to do so much more online and local-local. Things like the Pulitzers and other awards are worthy goals but not even on many papers' radars at the moment -- but that day will return. At the moment, they're fantasies.

for now, every dollar they can save or make on the online side directly equals print jobs that won't have to be cut.

the industry is starting to see the print side of the business becoming unprofitable, too; the online profit margin, between 80 and 90% at most papers, is becoming a larger and larger portion of any given metro's total profit, and the day is near when that online profit will be more than half of a typical metro's total profit in a typical month.

the underlying issue here is that print newspapers didn't go through the gradual economic corrections that they needed to -- even as difficult and as "tight" as newspaper publishing was in the 90s and early 00s. As newspaper companies became more and more addicted to the high margins of short-term classified business, and as wall street became more addicted to the profit margins of papers in the 90s, not enough was done to prepare for the day when all of the classified products shrink dramatically -- in this case while also most of the non-classified products also shrink due to a declining economy.

meanwhile, rising energy prices, gas prices, health-care costs, paper costs and other manufacturing costs will mean all US newspapers will continue to get smaller in size, and the toughest times are not behind the industry -- they're still ahead.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Hollis was on the Pulitzer Committee.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS IS HILARIOUS!!!

From: Buchanan, Margaret
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 2:12 PM
To: MCIN-News Users

We received a call from Gannett today that Cincinnati will be recognized as a Gold Medal Newspaper in the Best of Gannett awards to be announced Thursday. We don't have the judge's comments yet, but Phil Currie mentioned we were lauded for work on the data desk, suburban web sites, CincyMOMS and a strong commitment to public interest journalism, specifically coverage of foster care issues.

It will also be announced that Tom Callinan will be recognized with a President's Ring, for many of the same reasons as above.

Congratulations to Tom and the Local Information Center, as well as to all of you in other departments that also contributed to this type of success for the second straight year.

Margaret

---

One doesn't even know where to begin. Good Lord.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's no Pulitzer...but Jay Leno lampooned a headline that the Enquirer wrote on The Tonight Show last night...it basically said...Cincinnati City Council Split on Suicide.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:16: Why is the profit margin for an online operation like the Enquirer's high? Well, the content comes from the print staff who are not in the online budget. Add them to it and then let's reassess the margin.

Also, last I heard, even after all its years in business, the Enquirer web site still represents just 10-15% of the total revenue with the rest coming from, you guessed it, the print product(s).

Yes, that balance will shift over time, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. And let's not forget that the profit margin for print may be lower but the newspaper is not losing money - it's owners just want it to make more of it.

11:36 PM  

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