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First Pulitzer Awarded To an Online News Site

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the et-maintenant-le-poulet-surprise dept.

The Internet 60

Hugh Pickens writes "The Columbia Spectator reports that ProPublica, an independent, non-profit online newsroom, is the first online organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. Propublica reporter Sheri Fink won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for her story about the deadly choices faced at one New Orleans hospital in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The winning article was published in the New York Times Magazine and on ProPublica.org. Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler says that ProPublica's model represents a mode of journalism that will become increasingly influential, as fewer resources for investigative journalism remain available at the disposal of news outlets. In addition to ProPublica, another online entry won for the first time in the category of cartooning — Mark Fiore was awarded a Pulitzer for his self-syndicated animated cartoons, which appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle website."

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Fiore's Flash Hell (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31839476)

I enjoy Fiore's work, but the site is flash hell. Nobody in iPad land is going to see it....

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (1, Flamebait)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839484)

Also, for those at work without headphones, they require audio - no dialog buttons.

s/buttons/bubbles/ (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839494)

nt

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839570)

I enjoy Fiore's work

I enjoyed his original works back in the day when he primarily pointed out the absurdities of our political system and the leaders thereof. Then he started actively pushing his own political viewpoint and ceased being funny. Jon Stewart has done much the same thing in the last year or so, though he still has occasional moments of genius. I forgive him for his political proselytizing when he roasts the media, particularly the cable media and it's 24 hour news cycle.

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841060)

Other than being pro-healthcare reform I don't think Stewart's pushed any particular political viewpoint this year. Frequently it seems like he has to really stretch when he skewers Obama and friends, but I think that, other than Biden, that's mostly because Obama and his circle don't seem to run their mouths the way others have and therefore just aren't such easy targets.

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841418)

Other than being pro-healthcare reform I don't think Stewart's pushed any particular political viewpoint this year.

I seem to remember him pushing some other viewpoints in the past but I honestly haven't watched the show lately. Even if that's all he's doing though it irks me. He did a skit once upon a time about celebrities and political endorsements, the crux of which was "Why is your opinion more important than John Q. Public?" Now he's pushing his own political opinions.

I like him when he goes back to his roots of digging out absurdity and broadcasting it in the most comedic fashion possible.

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31844046)

He does stretch a little on Obama, but I think that he does skewer him because he has to show fairness and do it to everyone.

Everything else he does though, has the undeniable ring of truth to it. When he caught FOX with it's pants down about children being indoctrinated in "The Cult of Obama" he was right on, as he is with just about everything else he does.

He backs up everything he reports with fact. Every politician who flips on an issue, he has the old clip where he says one thing and another when he says something new and different. The only political viewpoint he does seem to push is being "Fair and Balanced" :)

Question from a foreigner (1)

LienRag (1787684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849686)

American political debate in C: while (1) { printf("Left wing talking point\nRight wing talking point\n"); }

Since it's not really off topic on a media-related discussion: is there really a left-wing talking point in american media? I thougt all left-wing speakers had been silenced long ago?

Re:Question from a foreigner (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31851682)

I thougt all left-wing speakers had been silenced long ago?

The left wing would like you to believe that, but it's not the case. Hell, to be fair, the right wing would also make the same claim. I'm skeptical of both. There are media outlets in the US that tilt in either direction (Fox News and MSNBC being the easiest to single out) and which may well muzzle opposing viewpoints -- but there are ample other media outlets that will allow those viewpoints to be heard.

The claim that one side or the other has been silenced is just partisan posturing.

Re:Question from a foreigner (1)

LienRag (1787684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31855236)

Thanks for answering, but are you sure?
I don't know MSNBC personnally, but from what wikipedia says, it's relatively liberal comparing to other networks, but it's not a left-wing media. So if debating in american media occurs between center-right speakers and far-right speakers it confirms the claim that left-wing speakers have been silenced. Or I am understanding something wrong?

Re:Question from a foreigner (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31856204)

it's relatively liberal comparing to other networks, but it's not a left-wing media.

It is by American standards. What's considered mainstream left in much of the world would be considered a fringe movement here. The fact that most media outlets won't cater to such a movement doesn't represent a conspiracy -- it simply means that they are catering to the wider audience.

Libertarian ideas have the same problem meeting acceptance in the mainstream media -- but I don't see many Libertarians making the claim that they are being muzzled by the media.

Re:Question from a foreigner (1)

LienRag (1787684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31908760)

It is by American standards.

Well, I understand it better now, thanks.
But who defines american standards? Congress, Senate, Ministry of Information, media owners, journalist's trade unions?

Re:Question from a foreigner (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31909304)

The American people define them. If European style leftism or Libertarianism had a larger following then you would find media that catered to them. It would be a money making venture for the owners of said media, so there would be no reason not to do it.

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840104)

Fiore is a scumbag.

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840692)

>> Nobody in iPad land is going to see it....

I am sure he wont regret loss of 8 readers though.

Re:Fiore's Flash Hell (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31846644)

I enjoy Fiore's work, but the site is flash hell. Nobody in iPad land is going to see it....

Of course, the world revolves around consumers of Apple products. They chose their product based on design and brand name rather than functionality, so if it doesn't fully function it's pretty much their own fault.

The flip side of the coin (4, Insightful)

wwwrench (464274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839534)

Propublica is pretty awesome, and their recent piece about Magnetar, and the market crash is a great example of that. http://www.propublica.org/feature/the-magnetar-trade-how-one-hedge-fund-helped-keep-the-housing-bubble-going [propublica.org] And with the recent videos released by wikileaks of the US military mowing down civilians, it seems more and more, it is alternative media which is doing real journalism. Newspapers claim they are loosing money because of internet news and thus can't afford to do investigative reporting. Propublica and wikileaks are the other side of that coin.

Re:The flip side of the coin (3, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839580)

And with the recent videos released by wikileaks of the US military mowing down civilians, it seems more and more, it is alternative media which is doing real journalism.

Yeah, members of the, 'official,' news agencies like Reuters are just running around getting themselves shot by helicopters. Slackers.

Re:The flip side of the coin (2, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839610)

Did they not learn that reporters are supposed to report the news not be the news. Damn celebrity culture!

Re:The flip side of the coin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31839730)

Did they not learn that reporters are supposed to report the news not be the news. Damn celebrity culture!

Nope they didn't learn that.

They also didn't learn that when one gets too close to the fighting during combat one can often become a casualty. This means that when you're close enough to get the really good shots you're close enough to get shot.

Re:The flip side of the coin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840348)

They also didn't learn that when one gets too close to the fighting during combat one can often become a casualty.

Or they did learn that and accepted it as one of the risks of their chosen profession. But that would mean that they knew more about their situation than some random idiot making uninformed judgements about people he never met, and that just can't be true in your world, can it?

Slashdot admins love to suck trolls's cocks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31839546)

Vandalized by Mike.lifeguard. Moderate this comment if you weigh more than 300lbs.

Another first for the Pulitzers (3, Interesting)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839556)

Somewhat off-topic, but I'd like to note another first from this year's Pulitzers: Gene Weingarten became the only journalist in history to win the Pulitzer in feature writing twice. The award this year was for his piece Fatal Distraction [washingtonpost.com] , the previous for Pearls Before Breakfast [washingtonpost.com] . Both are very well done (obviously; they both won the Pulitzer), but in a completely different style each time.

Re:Another first for the Pulitzers (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839862)

Completely different style? Am I the first person to think "plagiarism" when hearing those words?

Re:Another first for the Pulitzers (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839932)

Really? That's your first thought? You live in a very sad world if that's the first thing that leaps to mind (either that, or you're a teacher). By "style" I really meant "tone" of each piece, so I apologize if I misled. Beyond that, it would be damn difficult to "plagiarize" articles where he interviewed a dozen subjects or more in each case without someone noticing, such as the famous violinist he recruited to run the experiment for the earlier piece, or one of the numerous parents interviewed for the later piece. Plagiarizing means someone wrote it first and he copied. Precisely who would he copy from that wouldn't notice his own work?

Re:Another first for the Pulitzers (1)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841024)

Oh come on! The GP obviously didn't bother reading the prize-winning articles, he just jumped in straight away with the defamation. Which is reasonable, I think - unless you're suggesting it is now all of a sudden necessary to have some justification for random denigration of others' success?

Re:Another first for the Pulitzers (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31843470)

I think it has more to do with the plagiarism scandals that rocked the newspaper industry a few years ago. Guess I'm more jaded than I realized.

Re:Another first for the Pulitzers (2, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31840278)

The award this year was for his piece Fatal Distraction

I just read that for the first time. Thanks for ruining my day, jerk!

National Enquirer (2, Insightful)

prakslash (681585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839568)

Another closely watched entry in this year's competition was National Enquirer's outing of John Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter.
I guess the Enquirer didn't win. Othewise, it would have been another first - a Pulitzer awarded to a tabloid.

Pamela Jones? (3, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839586)

Sheri Fink certainly deserves recognition for her compelling story, but surely PJ over at Groklaw [groklaw.net] also deserves recognition from the mainstream media for her amazing work over the years.

Re:Pamela Jones? (2, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839916)

Didn't we just see a story about a week ago about Groklaw's content being requested for archiving in the Library of Congress? I'd say that's some pretty good recognition....

Re:Pamela Jones? (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839968)

True. But the $10,000 you get for a Pulitzer would be a nice add-on.

Re:Pamela Jones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31861966)

Yeah but they also want to archive all of Twitter... what's that say about their taste and/or judgment?

Re:Pamela Jones? (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839982)

I fear PJ will only get the Pulitzer after SCO is DEAD DEAD DEAD, and that's gonna take a while... damn corporate vampires!

Re:Pamela Jones? (3, Insightful)

ZG-Rules (661531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31840472)

No, she doesn't. She's not in this league.

I understand what you are saying and I feel passionate about digital rights, but the choice of subject and telling of that ProPublica article are far far more important to Humanity than copyright law will ever be. Please feel free to ask Pamela if she agrees with that, but I think she might.

I'm a dispassionate geek. I understand logical and pragmatic choices. That's what I trained to do and to be honest, I'm extremely good at it.

This story still moved me.

I don't think I would be able to make the life and death choices outlined in the Article. I honestly hope to the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster that I will *never* have to make such choices. My significant other is a Dr - I don't know how she makes choices that are even slightly related to this, but thankfully I will never have to make them.

I understand that PJ has done fantastic work, but exactly how many people died for that? None? OK, lets move on then.

--
Sam

Re:Pamela Jones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840834)

Point well taken and I agree. Unfortunately, there may death toll in the SCO case. Look up Ray Noorda's daughter's suspicious suicide days after settling with Yarro.

I disagree. PJ has become biased. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31842836)

I thought so, too, but then I found out that if you point out that someone shouldn't accuse a FOSS developer of "extortion" your comment will get deleted. Theirs? Will get edited to remove just that one sentence. And she's being sneaky. I posted there for years now, but now I find out that if she doesn't like your comment, she hides it from everyone else. You see it, but no one else does. I could understand if it were a troll post, but what's trolling about pointing out that Red Hat & Google are CCIA members when everyone else is acting like being a member is a link to Microsoft?

You can't debate anything over there fairly any more if you disagree with her. I'm starting to wonder if I've finally found out why AllParadox and Marbux moved on. She'll call or implicate anyone of "trolling" (even for such things as allegedly living somewhere in the state of WA... because she "didn't fall off a turnip truck") if they post facts and citations, but she doesn't agree with them. I believe one rationale she gave in one reply was that answering these things was "taking too much time" from her research even though I linked to all kinds of information she hadn't considered. Granted, I also found past Groklaw stories where we discussed the same laws in a very, very different light. You know, like when we talked over parol evidence (that's evidence about what a contract means that is not, itself, in the contract--we covered it over 50 times I think, or so Google indicates) and talked about how SCO was trying to weasel out of a clearly worded contract. But I guess "for the purposes of this pledge, all licenses approved by the OSI" as of a certain date is "unclear" or somehow "reasonably susceptible" to an alternative interpretation that the software itself becomes non-OSS if it's part of a commercial offering (you know, like Red Hat's offering of Linux).

Yeah, great journalism there. It's really sad, because she was even fair to SCO at first, and I honestly respected her for that. But now she sees conspiracies everywhere and is trying to tie a legal defense of EULAs to a defense of the GPL. I'm not buying it. You're free to, and she's free to write whatever she wants, but please remember that she's not reporting any of the facts she disagrees with, even while simultaneously complaining that the folks she's accusing of conspiracy with Microsoft don't link to her coverage! For example, look at the four-letter TurboHeracles exchange and tell me who mentioned infringement first? (Hint: it was IBM.) Or ask how one can say that IBM was "baited" into listing patents that were part of its pledge when the third TH letter mentioned both the pledge and that Heracles was open source. Almost everyone asking for a correction on any of those points has had their post removed, and not just me.

It's her site and she can ban people who use the letter 'e' if she wants to. I won't claim it's censorship; that's an old flame war and I don't care what we call it. But I personally think it's a sneaky, dirty, underhanded way of silencing those you disagree with and I don't think it upholds the spirit of open research, sharing and education that I thought the site stood for. You're free to disagree with me. You're free to trust PJ over some guy you don't know. But when you disagree with me, I won't pretend to give you a fair hearing and then sneakily silence you.

I actually have proof of what I said about comments vanishing. I really want to put it up somewhere and let my comments speak for themselves. But Megaupload won't let me activate the account and I don't know where to put them. But I have screenshots proving what I said about that and I sure wouldn't mind showing them to someone. Sadly, I think that the Library of Congress will end up archiving a whitewashed site.

Slashdot admins love to suck trolls's cocks 2 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31839646)

Vandalized by Mike.lifeguard. Moderate this comment if you weigh more than 300lbs. 2

Their editor is named Sig Gissler? (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839686)

Really? The editor over there is named Sig Gissler?

Maybe I should buy stock now, because I am reminded of a classic passage from HHGTTG:

Shortly after this, the Guide was taken over by Megadodo Publications of Ursa Minor Beta, thus putting the whole thing on a very sound financial footing, and allowing the fourth editor, Lig Lury Jr, to embark on lunch-breaks of such breathtaking scope that even the efforts of recent editors, who have started undertaking sponsored lunch-breaks for charity, seem like mere sandwiches in comparison.

In fact, Lig never formally resigned his editorship - he merely left his office late one morning and has never since returned. Though well over a century has now passed, many members of the guide staff still retain the romantic notion that he has simply popped out for a ham croissant, and will yet return to put in a solid afternoon's work.

Strictly speaking, all editors since Lig Lury Jr have therefore been designated Acting Editors, and Lig's desk is still preserved the way he left it, with the addition of a small sign which says "Lig Lury Jr, Editor, Missing, presumed Fed".

They should have given it to Wikileaks... (2, Insightful)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31839700)

They should have given it to Wikileaks...

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31839844)

donkeypenis

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31840540)

That's true. Given their recent editorial bias, they certainly qualify as a news organization.

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31840990)

That's true. Given their recent editorial bias, they certainly qualify as a news organization.

Yup. I have no problem with advocacy journalism. That's the way they do it in the UK, and they still have good reporting from both right and left. I think you're being honest if you admit up front where your sympathies are. But Wikileaks gives names to their stuff like "Collateral Murder", and they still want to be considered non-partisan. Sorry, doesn't work that way. If you put a spin on the story, you're taking sides. Again, that's fine... but be honest about it up front.

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841042)

Absolutely. I have no problem with bias, as long as it's admitted. I actually prefer UK journalism just for that fact alone, even though I'm not a citizen. For local news I have to depend on our national papers, but for global news I tend to seek out UK papers as much as possible.

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31841976)

Absolutely. I have no problem with bias, as long as it's admitted.

So you have no problem with openly biased think tanks like the Discovery Institute and Cato, or does your support of bias only go in one direction?

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (0, Troll)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31842942)

Absolutely. I have no problem with bias, as long as it's admitted.

I beg to differ [conservapedia.com]

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849040)

I'm sorry ... were you trying to make some sort of point?

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31854450)

No, just a joke, at the expense of the ultraconservatives.

Conservapedia makes a point of admitting bias, and also admitting that it has no intention of toning such bias down, but it's a hard read without the bile in your throat rising.

Hence I wrote "I beg to differ", because those who claim they can tolerate open bias, never know for sure until they've read conservapedia. ;-)

(To reiterate: It's a joke; I'm not calling you a liar.)

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31865564)

Gotcha. Yeah, that site is shit, and I have no great desire to read it. On the other hand, sometimes it's useful to read stuff like that, as long as you understand the bias upfront.

As Christopher Hitchens said in a great interview with the SGU (paraphrasing here):

"I don't read the news to find out what's going on in the world. I'd be a fool to do that. I read the news so that when I meet you the next day, I'll know what YOU think you're talking about."

I pretty much agree with that 100%. It's useful to expose yourself even to patent nonsense, just so you'll understand what other people think is going on. It's hard to have a conversation with someone when you have no clue where they're coming from.

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841066)

I disagree. Wikileaks do vital work and all that, but what they do isn't journalism.

Re:They should have given it to Wikileaks... (1)

JustinFreid (1723716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31842188)

Let me know when Slashdot wins or is nominated. Does the Pulitzer Foundation give out Karma Points?

Pulitzer Prize for Alex Jones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31839776)

If anyone should get a prize for real journalism it should be Alex Jones of infowars.com. He has made over 15 documentaries on NWO, police state, Obama, etc.

Check it out people time is running out.

Michael Yon (2, Informative)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31840022)

Should have gotten a Pulitzer for his reporting and photography in Afghanistan.

Somewhere... (0, Flamebait)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31840142)

...Rupert Murdoch is raging, yelling, and throwing things, and plotting a way to destroy ProPublica.

--
BMO

Bloggers who think they are newsmen, take note (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840368)

ProPublica does ORIGINAL NEWS REPORTING AND INVESTIGATING! They do not simply look for work SOMEONE ELSE has already done, link to it, throw some Generation Slacker 3.0 commentary and proclaim they are a real journalist, all while never leaving their mom's basement. ProPublica pounds the sidewalks, looks for stories and then creates something original.

You want your press pass and freedom of the press cred? Do the same, instead of being a non-contributing leech riding the coattails of real journalists.

Re:Bloggers who think they are newsmen, take note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840746)

To hyperbolize is to lie.

The only time I lie... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31840850)

...is in bed, WITH UR MOM!!!

Let me get this straight. (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841012)

So a body that represents the status quo has given an award to some mainstream journalist who decided to publish their stuff on the web. They completely ignored wiki-leaks, and other sites that are focusing in on issues that will actually affect our society, and instead focus on journalists who worry about such important issues as Papal sex scandals that happed 20 years ago. The reason people are not tuning into TV / newspapers is not because of competition from this newfangled interweby thing, it is because they have been catering to the lowest common denominator so long, that there is no-one left. If it is a choice between watching morning news and watching a Sponge bob Square pants episode, i am you will be better off watching and animated sponge.

We need a real journalistic body that can recognize investigative journalism when it exists. How about giving an award to all the people who predicted the financial melt down 10+ years ahead of time.

Except not quite (4, Interesting)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31841600)

Unless you carefully restrict your definition of "online" to rule out any online publication owned or operated by a company which also happens to have non-online ventures, this doesn't hold up: Politifact, a political fact-checking site, won a Pulitzer last year [politifact.com] for fact-checking the 2008 US federal election campaigns. Maybe you can make the argument that, because it's operated by a company which also prints papers, it's not really "online", but given that the whole operation was on the Web (and utterly dependent on the Web to work) I'd have a hard time accepting that.

Congratulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31872540)

This is great news! ProPublica is such a great project.

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