Poynter tried to tease media junkies yesterday morning before the 2012 Pulitzers were announced, but I saw one of the big news pieces of the day about an hour before official announcements came down – and it wasn’t as shocking as I might have thought maybe a year ago.
David Wood‘s win for the “Beyond the Battlefield” series, posted on The Huffington Post, is a deserved win for a seasoned journalist producing really great journalism. But it’s proof that it’s the writer, not the organization, that wins the Pulitzer. The organization, however, gets to bask in the acknowledgement that it employs a Pulitzer-winning journalist. And for HuffPo, that’s a great sign.
Online media nabbing Pulitzers isn’t really news these days. Politico and ProPublica have done it for a few years now, showing great journalism doesn’t always need to be printed. But HuffPo, the target of right wing bashing and criticism for headlines so big and sensational that’s it’s not even funny, hasn’t enjoyed a reputation for really specialized content. Calling it a news aggregator as little as a year or two ago wasn’t that far of a reach. Things have changed, and the Wood’s Pulitzer is proof.
The fact that good journalists are coming to HuffPo is a great thing for the company. Yes, the dialup-grade connection to sinking ship AOL is a downer, but the Pulitzer cred should be taken as a sign that Arianna’s creation is willing to foster strong journalism. As a sucker for good journalism entering the job market, that’s more than a little comforting.