The list of this year's Pulitzer Prize winners released Monday afternoon contained one big surprise: No one won the award for breaking news reporting.
Prize administrator Sig Gissler said at the press conference at which the prizes were announced that this is the first time no award was given in this category, which is for breaking local news. He said, "No entry received the necessary majority for the prize."
The prize rewards a "distinguished example of local reporting of breaking news, with special emphasis on the speed and accuracy of the initial coverage, using any available journalistic tool, including text reporting, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or any combination of those formats, in print or online or both." It comes with a $10,000 purse.
This is the first time no award was given for local breaking news reporting since the prize category was created in 1955. But Gissler told Adweek there have been 25 times that no prize was given in an individual journalism category since the Pulitzers were created in 1917. "I don't think it's a judgment on the breaking news reporting in the country," he said, noting that the category received a relatively small number of entries (37) this time around. "Breaking news has been small for a number of years. Some editors told me they don't enter because they don't feel they had enough of a disaster in their area."
The staffs of the Chicago Tribune, The Tennessean, and, in a joint entry, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, were the finalists for the award.