Pulitzer Loves Blogs and Snubs Fiction

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Holy lit! Blog creation received some big-time validation this week when the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism recognized new media outlets like The Huffington Post and Politico. But serious literary types had their feathers ruffled when the Pulitzers announced it wouldn’t hand out an award for fiction for the first time in 35 years. The embracing of new media and shunning of fiction has spurned conversations, controversies and, yes, even more blogging.

The Pulitzers started their love affair with digital media last year when they handed out the national reporting prize to blog ProPublica. This year, Huffington Post, currently the most read blog on the planet, took home the national reporting award for its war coverage — coverage which judge David Wood called a “riveting exploration of the physical and emotional challenges facing American soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan during a decade of war.” The road to Pulitzer for the Huffington Post has been a seven years in the making. Blogs have fought a shoddy public image for nearly a decade, and many believe that accolades like the Pulitzers will finally help put some the old misconceptions to bed. Awards like this are great for bloggers and blog marketing gurus everywhere. Hopefully it helps to inspire content creators to aim a little bit higher.

Fiction writers, however, were sent the message that the genre could use a little improving. Authors, publishing world CEOs and fiction fans were positively up in arms; it seems the industry took the omission of a fiction prize as an insult.

“Whenever you do not give a prize, you have disappointment, so we understand that,” Johnathan Gissler told the New York Times on Tuesday. “We’re sorry for the disappointment. The three books were carefully considered and the process was what it was.”

Twitter was filled with snarky tweets and suggestions for winners almost instantly after the news was announced. Meanwhile, it was up to the blogs to figure out what happened and what all of this means for fiction. Blogs like The Two Way at NPR and, yes, even the Huffington Post pondered the Pulitzer’s distaste for fiction. Pulitzer insists that its jurors just couldn’t reach a unanimous decision.

However you slice the Pulitzers, it can’t be denied that these are exciting times for bloggers, journalists and the world of publishing. And we’ll continue to look to blogs to see how it all turns out.

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