The winners of the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, and the National Enquirer didn't make the list. The Enquirer had hoped that its work breaking the John Edwards sex scandal — while the traditional press looked the other way — would erase its stigma as a supermarket gossip-rag in the eyes of the judges. Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine says even being considered alongside America's best newspapers has boosted the Enquirer's "credibility." But did the Enquirer deserve more — did it deserve to win the most presitigious award in print journalism? (Watch Enquirer editor Barry Levine talk about the nomination)
Absolutely. The Enquirer was robbed: While the rest of the journalism world was sleeping, says Emily Miller in The Washington Times, the National Enquirer shouldered the "expense of running a top-notch" investigation that ultimately brought to light the Edwards sex scandal. The Enquirer has won some hard-earned respect — for itself and all "nontraditional media outlets" — but the Edwards series merited a Pulitzer.
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The Enquirer got what it deserved — nothing: The prize rules state clearly that only newspapers adhering "to the highest journalistic principles" can win Pulitzers, says Jeff Bercovici in Daily Finance. The National Enquirer simply doesn't meet that standard. For one thing, the tabloid regularly pays for information. Sorry, but "there's no category in the Pulitzers for 'serious, important story by an otherwise sleazy publication.'"
The lines between serious and tabloid publications is blurring: Mainstream publications "scoff at the Enquirer's 'checkbook journalism' and in-your-face headlines," says Todd Leopold in CNN.com. But they're getting more tabloidy at the same time the Enquirer struggles to go more legit. The Washington Post — this year's big Pulitzer winner with four awards — has "hired a raft of bloggers" to better compete in a changing media world. Apparently everybody realizes that what readers really want is a mix of "gossip and hard news."
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