This year, the committee that awards the Pulitzer Prizes chose not to give a breaking news award. Sunday night, we saw again why it's become so difficult for media outlets to truly break news these days.
Just after 11:30 p.m. ET, President Barack Obama stepped to a podium to make a surprise announcement: U.S. forces have killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. By the time Obama spoke, reporters had been buzzing for a little under two hours, ever since an email from the White House saying that Obama would make a statement. Rumors started flying about what that statement would contain, and the unusual timing only added to the frenzy of speculation. So soon enough, every relevant reporter—whether print, TV, or any other medium—seemed to be on the story. But they weren't the ones who broke it.
Even the wire services, which traditionally would be the ones to break news like this, appear to have been scooped by an unlikely figure. The person who will, deservedly, get credit for being the first to confirm the rumors that bin Laden had been killed is Keith Urbahn, the current chief of staff to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He broke the news with a single, simple tweet: "So I'm told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn."