At last, a
truly encouraging sign that good journalism will flourish on the Web: Entries for the Pulitzer Prize will now be accepted from news organizations that publish solely online. The other criteria remain
the same, which is good news for online journalism's standards: The entry must come from a publication primarily devoted to news and original reporting, a requirement at the heart of the prize
since its establishment in 1917. The entry also must reflect the values of good journalism, such as honesty, accuracy and fairness.
"[We're] reaffirming the importance of text,
the importance of words and of serious reporting, all of which grew out of the newspaper tradition," says Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prize since 2002 and the former editor of the
. About 15 to 20 percent of last year's entries included a significant online component, demonstrating the hybrid nature of today's papers, Gissler says. This year,
he's published a tip sheet for entries with both online and print elements.
As newspapers cut their budgets, high-caliber reporters are finding their way to online news organizations
like ProPublica, a nonprofit that produces investigative journalism;
its staff includes reporters from both The Los Angeles Times
and The New York Times
. Richard Tofel, the
site's general manager, says the Pulitzer's new rules are appropriate. "The realities of this business are changing," he says. "[ProPublica] is indicative of that."
To be considered, online-only entries must come from u.s. text-based organizations; online magazines may not apply, nor may news-aggregating sites. Since it can be hard to pin down the nature
of an online publication, applicants must make the case themselves as to why they fit the criteria. Nick Denton may have a hard time.