By: Joe Strupp
For years, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Sig Gissler has firmly directed the juries that choose finalists for the 14 journalism categories not to disclose them before the Pulitzer Board reveals winners in April. Nevertheless, for many years, E&P has managed to collect and publish a nearly-complete and accurate list of most of the finalists shortly after those decisions were made.
It’s taking a little longer this year. The juries met in New York earlier this week but the usual flood of leaks has slowed to a trickle — so far.
Interviews with dozens of current jurors, past jurors, editors and others who usually have insight into the finalist lists finds most of them in the dark or keeping a lid on it.
Despite that, E&P has managed to obtain the names of finalists in four categories, both confirmed by several sources. We have also been told about other categories, but with only single sources, awaiting confirmation. Those and other initial leaks seem to indicate The New York Times is doing quite well in a handful of categories.
1.The New York Times — Toxic Pipeline
2.Chicago Tribune — Product Safety
3.The Denver Post — Destruction of Evidence
1.The New York Times — DNA
2.The Boston Globe — Global Warming
3.The Oregonian — Computer chips
1. The Washington Post — Virginia Tech
2. The New York Times — Bronx fire
3. Idaho Statesman — Larry Craig
1. The Washington Post
2. The New York Times
3. Chicago Tribune
The much-praised Walter Reed Army Hospital series in The Washington Post is a Public Service finalist, while The New York Times is among the finalists in the International category for its Iraq reporting.
Longtime Pulitzer watchers who routinely obtain the finalist lists say jurors have kept their mouths shut more than usual this year. Some jurors who had promised to reveal finalist lists before this week’s three-day judging, from March 3-5, changed their minds after the event occurred.
“”We ask our people to honor their promise and hope they will,”” Gissler told E&P Friday after hearing of the diminished leaking. “”Every year I ask them to honor their pledge and I always felt that most of them did. If more of them are doing it, that is fine.””
Jurors, who choose three finalists in each category from dozens of entries, are required to sign statements promising they won?t reveal the finalists. Veteran jurors, both past and present, told E&P that Gissler has even cited E&P’s finalist leak reporting in his admonishments for them to avoid leaks.
“”I’m not going into everything I’ve said or not said,”” Gissler responded when asked about E&P mentions. “”We ask people to honor the pledge and stand by their word.””
One of the reasons the finalists are not formally revealed until winners are announced on April 7 is that the Pulitzer Board has the power to change the finalist list and move entries from one category to another. Other jurors have said that the Pulitzers also seek to avoid lobbying of the board by finalists.
Joe Strupp can be reached at 646-654-5272 or the email address below.
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