Our View: No award and no reason
Monday was a big day for writers, photographers and musicians across the country.
The Pulitzer Prize Board announced its 2012 winners — a group of people who will go down in history as some of the very best in their respective industries. After all, 20 of those in the 21 categories not only get the prestige of being called a winner, but they also receive $10,000 and a certificate. (The winner for Public Service journalism is given a gold medal.) The New York Times took home two awards this year, while The Huffington Post snagged its very first.
But if you head on over to the website for the Pulitzer Prize and scan the results, you’ll notice two categories, Fiction and Editorial Writing, that read “no award.” Let’s be clear — there were finalists in these categories as always.
The board selects about 100 jurors each year, and they are split up among the different categories. Each jury nominates three finalists, and the board then selects from those.
So, with little explanation to follow, the board slapped up “no award” for those two categories on the site and called it a day. If our work happened to land a finalist spot in one of these categories, we’d be pretty frustrated.
“I don’t quite know what to tell you, because I’ve been asked not to discuss the specifics of the process,” one juror told Erik Wemple of the Washington Post.
We understand the importance of keeping the discussions and the process under wraps, as it could discourage the deliberators from truly being honest. They might be more concerned that their opinions on finalists will spread around.
But considering the Fiction category hasn’t seen this result in 35 years, according to the Washington Post, it might be worth commenting on. (The Editorial Writing category isn’t quite as shocking. It’s been given “no award” about nine times.)
Transparency is a very important part of the journalism field, and considering most of the members of the Pulitzer board hold some sort of position within it, we would hope they’d respect that.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.