Incoming Pulitzer Chair Steiger Wants More Web In Awards

Incoming Pulitzer Chair Steiger Wants More Web In Awards

By Joe Strupp

Published: May 11, 2006 11:15 AM ET
NEW YORK Paul Steiger, the incoming chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, wants the prestigious awards to delve even more in to Web-based journalism, calling it "the biggest priority for us."

But when asked about the leaking of Pulitzer finalists, which has become a growing problem for the secretive awards, Steiger, who is managing editor for The Wall Street Journal, said it was not a major concern. He even said he could not remember if he had ever leaked the name of a finalist during his time as a juror in the mid-1990s. "I honestly do not remember," he said. "It is a long time ago."

He also said he will step down from his Journal post at the end of 2007, citing mandatory retirement age restrictions.

Stating what he considers priorities for the Pulitzer board, which will meet again next in the fall, Steiger was clear that rewarding Web journalism was a key to keeping the awards relevant. "So much of our work continues to be online," said Steiger, who was appointed chair earlier this week. "So much exciting stuff is being done online, and by essentially print newsrooms, that have made it a bigger and bigger adjunct of the newsroom."

His comments followed the rule change in late 2005 that allowed Web elements to be included for the first time in submissions for all 14 journalism categories. Previously, since 1999, only the Public Service prize could include such submissions.

"I think the biggest priority for us is to continue to find ways to move forward," said Steiger, 63. "Last fall, we opened up the use of online material. We will probably look at ways to do more of that." He declined to cite specifics, but noted that the online entries are still limited to the written word and still photos. Podcasts, audio, video and a number of interactive Web elements remain restricted from Pulitzer submissions.

When asked if such audio and video Web items could be included in Pulitzer submissions, Steiger said "sure." He also cited Web services such as 'newstrackers,' which provide interactive updates and links for ongoing stories, and online data bases such as those that follow presidential polling in each state, the past rulings of judges, and congressional votes.

"That requires the board to meet and decide," Steiger stressed about any changes. "I've got an open mind. We are more focused on how we can embrace the kinds of innovative things that people are doing now."

Steiger noted that online entries were a key element of the papers that won Pulitzers for Hurricane Katrina coverage, The Sun Herald of Bilxoi, Miss. and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. "It was less than the majority of submissions," he said about the overall percentage of Web entries among finalists. "But more than in the past."

Turning to the problem of Pulitzer finalist leaks, Steiger said it was not a priority for him, although he understood why Pulitzer Administrator Sig Gissler makes it a major issue. "Sig worries about it a lot and he is the administrator and that is part of his job," Steiger said. "It is not one of the things I spend a lot of time worrying about."

Pointing out that journalists are trained to get information out that they know, he even showed some sympathy for the leakers. "I think when there is information that is of interest to a significant number of people, intrepid reporters will try to get it," he said. "That is fair. For people to try to get it. It is also fair for the Pulitzer Board to have rules to try to limit that."

As a two-time juror in the mid-1990s who chose finalists, Steiger said he could not recall if he had ever leaked any names. But when asked if he had ever leaked the names of winners during his eight years on the board, he said "to the best of my knowledge I have contributed nothing to those receiving leaks from the board."

Noting he will turn 65 in August 2007, Steiger said that will require him to step down as Journal managing editor at the end of 2007. "They could kick me out sooner, but under the company rules, I have mandatory retirement," said Steiger, who has held the post since 1991. "I love the job, but I have done it 50% longer than anyone else. It will definitely be time for someone else to try their hand at it."


We must have great stories...

Because they have a tendency to appear in the Times two weeks after they appear in NYC24. The latest is...vinyl records in Greenpoint.

Click here to read.


You're not alone

You are not the only ones debating the whole immigrant vs. illegal label.
this is just one of many threads going on in the GMA message boards

and on a jen note, the jens were united today when WSJ.com was featured on GMA. jen, did you notice?
(this concludes your random moment of the morning)



Please send to me (CC Erin) by Tuesday, 5/2 @ 6 p.m. Let me know if you have a question.



It's 10 O'Clock Somewhere.

The long-awaited, much-anticipated and soon to be picked apart by
Jeff Gralnick issue of the New New Yorkers is now available at a
staging server near you.

But first, a word.

What you see tonight is a work-in-progress. Many things are still
coming along. Some of you are still working on videos and
slideshows, and haven't had a chance to finish, or to compress your
files, and so obviously, that work is not up here.

We are also not done with our work. The scavenger hunt and rally
story are not completed, neither is the site index, or the 'about us' page with the masthead. We are missing some photos (clearly, the
donkey photo is a placeholder) and some images (the multimedia link
will become a graphic). Also, there is a slight problem with web browser compatability that would be solved if the people at Firefox would just go away.

So bear in mind that this is very much a soft launch.

(One more thing. The homepage is a flash page with text for each subdivision, and it rolls over and swaps images and text and is quite lovely. But that's not what you'll see. You will see an HTML stand-in, without animation rolloevrs, and with inexact spacing and text, from which you will have to use your imagination. But I will be happy to show you the real thing anytime this week.)

In the next few days, the QA team are going to look at the
multimedia, and the sitewide pages. For now I'd like the
reporters to focus on improving their own stories. Anne sent back copy tonight, which is due Tuesday at 6PM. I urge you all to continue working on your stories, and to take the opportunity to discuss them with Anne, the QA editors, and me--along with each other. Duy has offered to review copy with anyone who is interested.

You have until Thursday at 9PM to perfect your multimedia. We will not extend this deadline any later that that. The other editors and I need Thursday night and all day Friday to make sure the site is perfect. This is non-negotiable.

We launch for real on Friday at 5.

So without further adue, welcome to the New New Yorkers...and give yourselves a mini-round of applause on your work thus far. We have much left to do, but we are really are coming along.




I have spent the afternoon going through tapes for the podcast, and I plan to finish going through the audio / picture submissions tomorrow. If you have a video that you have not yet submitted to me, please leave it in my mailbox on the sixth floor before 6 p.m tomorrow. After that, I will select from what I have and interview people I have footage of as of then.



Dan Gillmor

For those of you with a few spare moments, here's a link to Dan Gillmor's blog: http://citmedia.org/blog/. He's the guy giving the new media lecture on Thursday.

The Final Project

We are launching on Friday. So far, many of you handed in copy that
required significant revision, skipped the photo deadline, and
didn't hand in multimedia.

Perhaps you think I'm kidding when I say its unacceptable. But let
me be clear: we're not putting anything up on the site that doesn't
meet a high standard of quality. I would rather launch the final
project with six stories then put up badly edited video,
disorganized copy, and poor slideshows.

The way it looks right now, we WILL be cutting stories from the
final issue. And you'll have to work out with Duy what that means
for you.

So get your act together. I'd like an email from each of you today,
explaining exactly where your photos and multimedia are.

Final copy is due TONIGHT, at 10PM to Anne, copy me. Unless you
have come to me for an extension already, I expect your revised
copy to come in, on time.




I've decided on a new approach to get people to read my posts (lies about free food) ...

Anyway, I hate to sound like a broken record, but very few of you are actually following my production "requests." Use the new-media/new_yorkers folder for all final project work. Each of you has a folder within the working directory.

As of now, none of your work is being backed up because it's scattered in a hundred different places on the new media server. You are tempting fate...

Also, I still see tons of uncompressed video files from Issues 1 to 4. DELETE.

Thanks (again),

New Media Survey in the Economist

There is a good sequence of articles in this week's Economist on new media.

Here is the link:



Video Interviewing Solo

Because Jeff said to use this blog to bitch and vent, here goes:

Just wanted to say that doing this all by yourself is a little nuts. Today I interviewd this dude while holding the camera. Kind of felt like I was kissing a girl from a distance. It really does not work unless you have a really long tongue, which I don't. I'm not Gene Simmons yet. We are both Jewish, but that's where the similarities end. It's good I had the cordless mic so it didn't look like he was interviewing like a rock star. I've seen some of the videos looking like that.

Sweet dreams, kids.


Storage space

As I mentioned in class on Thursday night, and as others have pointed out, storage space has become a significant problem and will halt production altogether if we don't deal with the issue.

So, here's what needs to happen by tomorrow:

1) EVERYONE needs to login to both capture computers (the two closest to the printers) and delete any of your movie-related files that remain on the desktop.

2) Space on the new media server is also running low, and we're going to run out of space as people build movies and slideshows for the final project. Again, please go into your folders on the new media drive and delete all of the movie files that you created for the first four issues. As long as you keep the Final Cut project files, you will be able to recreate any old movies, if necessary, by reinserting your raw tape. (You, of course, will still have the compressed movies that were uploaded to the website, as well.) It is the uncompressed .mov files, however, that each take up hundreds of megs. Delete them.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks.


VIDEO PODCAST of the Scavenger Hunt

Dear all,

I am making a video podcast using the video we all captured during the scavenger hunt. Please leave the tapes in my mailbox on the sixth floor. If you will be needing those tapes back (i.e., if you have important footage that you still need to work on), shoot me an email (skc52@columbia.edu) and I will arrange to put the tape back in my mailbox or into yours when I have finished with it.

For those of you who did NOT have a video camera, please leave the audio tapes in my mailbox if you used a marantz. You can put photos in my public folder online under the final project section.