Pulitzer Prize Rule Change Allows More Web Sites to Compete in 2010

By: Joe Strupp

The Pulitzer Prizes today announced a change in eligibility rules that will open the door to even more Web-only outlets.

Last year, the Pulitzer Board allowed non-print newsrooms to compete for the first time in the 14 journalism categories, but stipulated they must be “primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing events.”

Today’s announcement states that restriction has been lifted.

“The revised rule will provide more flexibility as we focus on the merit of an entry rather than the mission of the Web site where it appeared,” Pulitzer Administrator Sig Gissler said in a statement.

The new eligibility rules require only that the submitting news outlet be “a text-based United States newspaper or news site that publishes at least weekly during the calendar year and that adheres to the highest journalistic principles.”

Magazines and broadcast media, and their respective Web sites, are still not eligible.

The Pulitzer Board agreed on the change at its November meeting at Columbia University.

The previous requirement “sometimes excluded possibly promising entries-notably by online columnists, critics and bloggers-because of the nature of their Web affiliation” the announcement added. “Original reporting and coverage of ongoing events will remain the central considerations in the prizes for reporting and writing.”

In 1999, the Pulitzers first allowed online content in its journalism competition, restricting it to online content from newspapers in the Public Service category.

In 2007, online content from newspaper Web sites was permitted in all Pulitzer journalism categories, but online-only news sites were not allowed to submit entries, and entirely-online entries were permitted in only two categories, breaking news coverage and breaking-news photography.

In 2009, online-only sites that publish at least weekly were eligible for the competition, provided they met the original-reporting requirement. The Board also allowed entries made up entirely of online content to be submitted in all 14 journalism categories for the first time.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 1, 2010.

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