Monday, April 19, 2010

This Just In: A New Prize for the Fourth Estate

Last week the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes were announced at Columbia University in NYC. There were few surprises from the major news organizations (i.e., The New York Times and The Washington Post) and thankfully some smaller papers were honored as well (i.e., Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Bristol Herald Courier). The range and scope of the stories/reporters recognized suggest to me that—despite what some might believe—there are plenty of people in journalism who still care about reporting. About coverage. About words and truth and sense-making.

Last week, I also attended a gathering of writers, not in NYC but in the mid-west. There, I heard from a few too many folks (more on that later) who seemed convinced that all mainstream journalists are biased liberals (whatever that means), out to get the rest of us. They think the media are the enemy and have deteriorated to one giant spitting machine. And admittedly, there probably are too many sensational stories in today's news for my liking. But boy, oh boy, that sure ain't the whole story. At least from where I've been sitting.

So this week, I've decided to begin my own prize. I'll call it, well, just what it is: the "Good Story" prize. Each fourth day of the week (that'd be Thursday) for the next four weeks, I'll give my Top Four Good Story Prizes, links and all, just to prove to the cranky "non-liberals" (whatever that means) that there still is some hope in what we're seeing in today's coverage. What qualifies? Good writing. Important coverage. Credible sources. You get the idea. Maybe my little experiment in four weekly prizes will help start a movement that reminds folks of this one simple truth: that we'd all be sunk without this great gift called the Fourth Estate. See you Thursday!


  1. I'm so proud of you for figuring out the comment issue!

    This sounds like a great way to bring a little more positivity to the world of news; I look forward to reading your recommendations.

  2. Looking forward to it Jo - it is a wearisome business dealing with the gripes of those whose only reference to the world is how they feel about things. In good journalism we get pieces for the jig saw puzzle of truth whether we like the look of them, or not!