When the Pulitzer Prize’s were announced yesterday, the Breaking News category was left blank for the first time, which left people wondering why that had happened.
Poynter spoke to Sig Gissler, a Pulitzer administrator, but because voting specifics are kept confidential, we don’t learn much. However, the reason there was no winner appears to be that the few entries received for the category just weren’t good enough:
Of all of the Pulitzer categories, breaking news coverage attracts the fewest entries, only 37 in this year’s contest, Gissler said. That is down from 41 in 2010, 35 entries in 2009, 47 in 2008 and 52 in 2007.
Gissler added that even though there have been significant breaking news events in the last year, judges weigh their decisions based on the quality of individual entries. ‘In order to win, an entry must get a majority vote,’ he said.
A few people have mentioned that maybe Twitter should have won. But the problem there is that the tiny vessels of quality information often get lost among the sea of worthless crap, so it’d be pretty hard for the board to narrow down entries. Plus, about 90 percent of them would be about Justin Bieber, and although him declaring Cool Ranch his favorite Doritos flavor is shocking, it’s certainly not Pulitzer worthy.