Pulitzer board expands online eligibility


A year ago the rules for the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism were expanded to allow entries from web-based publications as well as print newspapers. Now the definition of eligible websites has also been expanded.

The Pulitzer board announced Wednesday that it was easing the previous requirement that eligible websites had to be “primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing events.” That’s now been modified to allow entries from websites that are primarily dedicated to commentary and/or links to other websites.

“The revised rule will provide more flexibility as we focus on the merit of an entry rather than the mission of the Web site where it appeared,” said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Prizes.

Original reporting and coverage of ongoing events will remain the central considerations in the prizes for reporting and writing, the organization emphasized. “Consistent with its historic focus on daily and weekly newspapers, the Board will continue to exclude entries from magazines and broadcast media and their respective Web sites,” it added.

The revised eligibility rule now reads:

“Entries for journalism awards must be based on material coming from a text-based United States newspaper or news site that publishes at least weekly during the calendar year and that adheres to the highest journalistic principles. Magazines and broadcast media, and their respective Web sites, are not eligible.”

Details and entry forms are available on the Pulitzer Prize website.

RBR-TVBR observation: The exclusion of magazine and broadcast websites seems most strange. It would appear that RBR-TVBR is now eligible to enter, since our last print edition was in December 2007. But why is good journalism from a website barred if it happens to be operating under the auspices of a radio or television station or network?

For example, while the revised rule is designed to open the door to previously excluded “possibly promising entries — notably by online columnists, critics and bloggers,” it would appear to still exclude one of the country’s foremost media critics, Robert Feder, solely because his new blog (following 28 years at the Chicago Sun-Times) is on a website operated by Chicago Public Radio. How does that make any sense?