2010 Pulitzer Prizes: The Breakdown!


It’s that magical time of year again when the uppity nerds of Columbia University bestow upon the people their picks for this year’s Best Writing Stuff. And we’re going to attempt to add some context to these proceedings as they happen. So, here, we’re live-blogging the Pulitzer Prizes. Unfortunately, since he’s currently incarcerated, scheduled performer Lil’ Wayne will not be playing the proceedings, but Pulitzer Administration Sig Gissler is going to rock this joint any moment. Hang in there.

(Scroll all the way down, and read from the bottom up. Because that’s how this stuff’s done, that’s why.)

4:35 PM: Your Pulitzer analysis is finished. You want more? Read Richard Perez-Pena’s New York Times blog post on it. The entire thing was up and running ten minutes after they were announced. And you tell me they weren’t leaked that shit this morning. Psh. More worth being bitter over: not winning a Pulitzer, or the New York Times getting to blog the easy way? Whatever. Congrats to all the winners!

4:25 PM: And no, the National Enquirer didn’t win shit. People campaigned for the paper to win for their reporting about presidential candidate John Edwards’ affair, which they got to before everyone else, mostly because other reporters were supposedly scared by the prospect of taking the story on. People probably just wanted the National Enquirer to win to fuck with Sig Gissler, and so they’d have something “funny” to blog about today. Also, let’s be honest, the reason nobody paid attention to the National Enquirer‘s story on John Edwards is because it represents a microscopic piece of significant news that’s drowned in a reputation of BABY BUMP ON CRACK COCAINE WITH VAGINA SHOT UP IN THIS-esque stories. And those guys will chase anything that even remotely smells like a story with some errant penis in it.

4:22 PM: A book about finance won the history award, not shocking. Notably, it wasn’t New York Times prettyboy finance star Andrew Ross Sorkin’s, nor was it The Blind Side bestseller Michael Lewis’ book, either. Both will likely be read more than Liaquat Ahamed’s Lords of Finance, and at least one of them will turn into a movie that will make you think less of their books.

4:15 PM: Hank Williams won the special citation award, for music. Nice. But this hasn’t happened already?

4:12: So, this is cool — while the Pulitzer fiction prize may have gone to Paul Harding’s Tinkers, upstart local indie press Soft Skull managed a finalist in there: Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet. Soft Skull’s now a subsidiary of a larger company, but still, for what started as a tiny punk outfit in New York, pretty neat.

3:54 PM: Choire Sicha at The Awl notes “the story that we do not mention under any circumstances,” which would be the Washington Post‘s Gene Weingarten, writing about people who’ve forgotten children in the backseats of cars. Weingarten won his second Pulitzer in three years, this year, for feature writing. The story is — as anyone who read it will tell you — a total tearjerker and absolutely tragic and will completely ruin your day. But also, incredible.

The Post won the most awards out of any paper this year, despite a number of scandals, which ranged from a sketchy off-the-record reporter salon which saw money exchanged over it, to columnist Dana Milbank calling Hillary Clinton a “mad bitch.” Yeah, didn’t remember that one, did you? Also, there was the time Post columnist Sally Quinn basically told everyone to eat her ass, the time former Post ombudsman Deborah Howell died and some readers were like “she sucked anyway*,” or that time a Washington Post editor ended up publicly humiliating their writer by incorrectly noting the Public Enemy song “911 is a Joke” as about 9/11? Yeah, The Washington Post has had a rough year. All those awards must feel pretty nice to editor-in-chief Jay Brauchli right now.

3:50 PM: Hey, now we have a screengrab of a Pulitzer medal ripped straight from their site so this post doesn’t look so shlubby. Sorry we weren’t dressed nicely earlier.

3:45 PM: The New York Observer‘s John Koblin notes that the Wall Street Journal might’ve felt the Pulitzer snub coming, because they sent out a press release touting their Payne Award wins.

3:43 PM: Voice senior editor Ward Harkavy is currently bemoaning his lack of a Pulitzer in the office. “Fuck this,” he notes. “I criticize the fucking shit out of everything. Where the fuck is my award?” He has a point.

3:36 PM: A few notes on these arts prizes. Next to Normal, the musical that won the drama prize, is the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize since Jonathan Larson’s gamechanger, Rent, in 1996. Rent‘s Broadway run ended on September 7, 2008 after 12 years of performances. Next to Normal — about a screechy mother who’s screechily crazy — opened on Broadway on April 15, 2009. The Drama finalists included young gun playwright Kristoffer Diaz, for his show about professional wrestlers, which is badass. Also, MacArthur Grant winner Sarah Ruhl for her play about vibrators (or something), and Rajiv Joseph for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

3:18 PM: Shots acquired? Greg Mitchell at the Media Fix Blog points out both the Wall Street Journal‘s total snub at Pulitzers, adding to the total number of awards for the paper under the Rupert Murdoch era to “zero.” Not that he gives a shit. But it is worth noting that the last year saw finance reporting become the hottest beat in journalism, and — as Mitchell astutely noted — the Journal picked up more awards (more than “zero,” that is) when Paul Steiger was still an editor at the paper. Notably, Paul Steiger won today with the ProPublica story, as he’s currently the editor-in-chief there.

3:15 PM: The big stunner that’s going to be talked about in media circles is nonprofit reporting outfit ProPublica’s collaboration with the New York Times on Hurricane Katrina, which shared the award for investigative reporting with Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News‘ story about a rogue police narcotics squad. When ProPublica’s story dropped, the price tag of it — $400,000 — became a central talking point of the story, as opposed to what it possibly represented: a future in which in-depth reporting is subsidized by nonprofit organizations. Those organizations face a number of challenges, like maintaining a press line of being free from political agendas, keeping their funding in line, and carefully choosing the publications they wish to partner with, if they end up doing so. Via the Columbia Journalism Review‘s Twitter: “Gissler says we’ll see more joint awardees, like the NYTimes magazine and @propublica, as news organization collaboration increases.”

3:10 PM First note: we’ve got a finalist amongst our ranks! Voice theater critic Michael Feingold didn’t bring home the 10K prize, but he was honored alongside New York Times film critic A.O. Scott and the winner, the Washington Post‘s dance critic Sarah Kaufman. Congratulations to Michael! Someone here should buy him a drink. It might be me.

3:07 PM: Well, that was exciting. The entire list is now online here.

3:05 PM: whoa, holy shit, here we go!

3:02 PM: Did you know Sig Gissler was recently featured with his lovely wife in a New York Times piece about their apartment? They got quite a steal on it an

*David Carr of the New York Times took issue with my Deborah Howell line, which was meant to be more about the last year at the Washington Post than anything else. It was regarding a lot of the outcry of her lionization by her media colleagues — which I felt was deserved — after she unexpectedly passed away after an accident at the beginning of this year. In retrospect, the line was pretty shitty, as many of mine are. It stays there to show what an asshole I am, though for the record, the Washington Post getting all those Pulitzers after having such a shit year is still fairly remarkable, and in some ways — some — kind of nice.