By: Lucia Moses
Newspapers are getting on board the Internet bandwagon, and the Pulitzer Prize board is picking up on the importance of the new medium.
For the first time, the judges this year gave extra weight to Public Service entries with an online component. Prize administrator Seymour Topping says the board is recognizing that online sites are becoming another resource of the newspaper.
Only 14 of the 107 entries in the Public Service category, however, had an online component. “I think to some extent, the reason is, it’s the first time we’ve done it,” Topping surmises. Incidentally, The Washington Post’s winning entry didn’t come with an online exhibit. Post executive editor Leonard Downie says the newspaper didn’t do anything special online to augment its entry.
Topping says the board was looking for entries that did more than simply dump the printed stories on the Web site.
“What we were looking for was Web sites that presented original material that was a useful supplement to what was in print,” he says.
A good example was The Philadelphia Inquirer, a finalist in Public Service. The Inquirer’s entry showed how local police routinely manipulate crime statistics to make the city appear safer and the companion Web site allowed visitors to view crime statistics by neighborhood.
The Public Service category will continue to take online exhibits, and the Pulitzer board is expected to open other categories to online exhibits.
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