Scratching My Head at the Pulitzers
The winners and finalists for journalism's biggest prize, the Pulitzers, were announced today and as expected, former Times feature writer Chris Goffard was a finalist for his $40 lawyer story. He got beat by the New York Times' story on a local imam struggling in post 9/11 America.
My hero, Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist and editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker, won for commentary, and the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage won for his widely overlooked stories on the way President Bush used signing statements to reshape legislation as he signed it,
But what has me scratching my head: Why did the New York Daily News win for its series of editorials on the health problems of people who worked on ground zero, when its poster boy for that issue, Cesar Borja -- a 52-year-old policeman lauded as someone who worked tirelessly in the ruins of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks and died of lung disease -- was unmasked by the New York Times as someone who didn't work at the disaster site nearly as long as news reports claimed.
I also wonder why, as the newspaper business is slipping down a sinkhole and TV is redefining itself every day thanks to the explosion of digital media echnology, the person who won this year's Pulitzer for criticism was a restaurant reviewer.
I'm sure his work is amazing. But I'm weary of the Pulitzers honoring people who write about highbrow stuff such as gourmet food, dance, classical music and architecture, while virtually ignoring those who are critcizing the stuff that is redefining live in the 21st century -- movies, TV, media and pop culture.
UPDATE: To answer one comment already posted, I do mean people who cover what I cover, but not me. What I do isn't good enough.
But what Howie Kurtz, or Frank Rich or Tim Rutten or David Carr do is certainly that good. And, in my opinion, more important than the best restaurant review...