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Three years into nonprofit ownership, The Philadelphia Inquirer is still trying to chart its future
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April 20, 2009, 6:04 p.m.

22% of Pulitzer entries had online content, including 7 winners

Since organizers of the Pulitzer Prizes announced in 2006 they would allow the submission of online content in all journalism categories, newspapers have gotten better at integrating their printed and online materials, prize administrator Sig Gissler said.

This was the first Pulitzer cycle to welcome applications from certain online-only news organizations. But ironically, the 65 entries from 37 online-only news operations looked an awful lot like those of their print brethren. About three-quarters of their applications were made up entirely of traditional entry fodder — text and pictures — rather than online specialties like video, audio, or interactive multimedia.

That’s not that far ahead of the diversity in formats that newspapers were producing. In all, of 1,028 total entries this year, about 22 percent included online content in their submission — compared to 15 to 18 percent last year. Gissler noted a “much better blending” of print and online components than in recent years.

“A few years ago, an entry might have been a story with this digital glob on the bottom,” Gissler said. The online submissions varied in presentation, he said, ranging from printouts of web pages during breaking news events, to DVDs or CDs with video content, to links to still-online resources.

Forty-three percent of entries in the public service category contained some online content; the number was 17 percent in the local reporting category.

Gissler also noted that seven of the winners included online content as part of their applications: public service, breaking news, investigative reporting, local reporting, national reporting, news photography, and feature photography.

“Online material is one of multiple factors,” Gissler said. “But the primary factor remains excellent reporting and writing.”

POSTED     April 20, 2009, 6:04 p.m.
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