Morning Media Newsfeed: Pulitzers Announced | Google Buys Drone Maker | Relativity Eyes Maker Studios

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2014 Pulitzer Prizes Announced (FishbowlNY)
The Pulitzer Prizes celebrate the best of the best, and Monday we learned the latest recipients of journalism’s highest honor. TVNewser The Washington Post and the U.S. edition of The Guardian have won the award. They will share the Public Service award for their series of stories on NSA surveillance, as revealed by Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor who gave the top-secret information to the news organizations. The Pulitzer committee said the journalism was “marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” Politico Snowden immediately declared the decision “a vindication.” The reporting on the former government contractor’s leaks was led by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewan McAskill at The Guardian, Barton Gellman at the Post, and Laura Poitras, who worked with both newspapers. NYT The Boston Globe won the breaking news prize for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and wounded at least 260. The Post won a second award, for explanatory journalism. Eli Saslow, 31, a staff writer, won for a series of articles on American families that rely on the federal food stamp program. GalleyCat Author Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her book The Goldfinch. The novel about an orphan also won Amazon’s Best Books of the Month “Spotlight Pick” in October 2013 and was shortlisted for 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Google Buys Drone Maker Titan Aerospace (WSJ)
Google Inc. agreed to buy Titan Aerospace, a startup maker of high-altitude drones previously courted by Facebook Inc., as the Internet-search giant pursues aerial technology to collect images and offer online access to remote areas. AllFacebook Facebook ended up acquiring Ascenta for $20 million in late March, when it announced the formation of its Connectivity Lab, which will be tasked with using high-altitude long-endurance planes, satellites and lasers to help further the mission of — the global partnership formed by Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung last August — of providing Internet access to parts of the world that are not connected. Mashable Titan’s 20-person team will stay in New Mexico. Titan may also work with Makani, a Google project that is developing an airborne wind turbine. NYT / Bits Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Titan Aerospace drones are unique because they are solar-powered and can fly for several years, according to the company’s website. Drones that can fly for long periods of time without having to land could be used to offer constant updates of images of the earth, allowing a company like Google to update the photos in its maps platform.

Relativity Media Bids for Maker Studios (WSJ)
In a last-minute attempt to spoil a deal between online-video producer Maker Studios and Walt Disney Co., film and entertainment company Relativity Media LLC jumped in with a counterbid. LA Times / Company Town Relativity, a Beverly Hills-based entertainment company, offered to pay $525 million in cash and stock for the Culver City, Calif. digital media company, plus as much as $500 million more depending on the financial performance of the company, according to a person familiar with the deal. Relativity also offered a bonus pool worth $75 million for “key talent and executives,” this person said. Reuters Disney agreed to buy Maker on March 24 for $500 million in cash, a price that could rise to $950 million if Maker hits certain performance milestones. “The agreement has been approved by Maker Studios’ Board of Directors and the majority of its shareholders and is expected to close in the next few weeks, subject to regulatory approval,” Maker said in a statement on Monday. Bloomberg Businessweek With more than 55,000 channels, 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion views per month on YouTube, Maker Studios has become a top online video network for younger viewers, according to Disney. The acquisition is one of the biggest for Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, since the $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd. in 2012.

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