Great Journalism Shines on the Web
Movies have the Oscar, cultural and scientific advances have the Nobel Prize. As far as awards go in media, nothing lends more prestige than a Pulitzer.
Self-declared “Internet newspaper” Huffington Post, one of the most controversial players in online media, has been breaking out the bubbly after taking a step into respectability by winning a Pulitzer Prize, the traditional standard of journalistic excellence (no kidding, it won a prize and not just link to one.)
This first Pulitzer for the seven-year-old Huffington Post is a milestone for the popular AOL-owned news site, often derided as an aggregator that built its audience by recycling the journalism of other outlets and sourcing free content from bloggers.
Huff Post’s senior military correspondent David Wood won a Pulitzer for national reporting for his 10-part series, “Beyond the Battlefield ,” about the struggles of wounded American soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wood, 66 is not any Millennial Gen geek remixing multimedia assets or trawling Google News for trendy stories to repurpose for search engine optimisation. He was previously a Pulitzer finalist and has covered conflicts in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central America.
Wood’s piece was not aggregated from other sources around the Web. While his Pulitzer legitimises the aggressive Web-native editorial approach of Huff Post, it is important to remember the team of editors, proof-readers and reporters behind the high-calibre journalism of the series that typifies traditional print media.
“We are delighted and deeply honored by the award, which recognizes both David’s exemplary piece of purposeful journalism and HuffPost’s commitment to original reporting that affects both the national conversation and the lives of real people…one of the core pillars of HuffPost’s editorial philosophy has been to use narrative and storytelling to put flesh and blood on data and statistics, and to help bear witness to the struggles faced by millions of Americans.”
President and Editor-in-Chief
Huffington Post Media Group.
Huffington says the site will continue doing multi-part series on big issues. It currently has 26 reporters working on a series on poverty in America.
Huff Post has differentiated itself from being only an aggregator to a site that has attracted eminent journalists and added them on top of its formula of sourced content. As Websites go, this editorial model makes smart business sense and is being emulated by newer sites, like Business Insider.
“The real differentiator between old media and new is how we relate to and interact with our audience. We see it as setting the table for an ongoing discussion that we plan to stay on for a long time.”
Executive Editor of the Huff Post
This year’s Pulitzers broke with tradition by honouring two primarily online publications, Politico and Huffington Post. The prizes were restricted to print newspapers until 2008 and now include text-based “online news sites,” as opposed to “online news magazines” or websites for TV or radio stations.
As the business of producing and consuming information shifts online from offline, no other industry is as vulnerable to disruption as journalism. This Pulitzer is an acknowledgment by the industry of the seismic shifts in digital journalism.
The easy narrative is that online news and blog sites have finally made it on the Internet, once a source for memes and pet videos. With the global jury still out on whether non-traditional news sites have arrived, a Pulitzer is surely a great nod to great journalism thriving on the Web.