“On Sunday I took a pay cut. On Monday I won a Pulitzer Prize.”
That’s a direct quote from a reporter at the Baltimore Sun named Luke Broadwater last week, when the Pulitzer Prizes were handed out.
Pulitzer day is always a big one in my life every year; not because I ever expect to win one (but I have worked with two people I have! So that makes me excited) but because it thrills me to see great journalism rewarded.
In this day and age when my beloved newspaper industry has been decimated by corporate cuts and layoffs, when a decent-sized segment of the population screams “fake news” at anything that doesn’t flatter the President or his cronies, the Pulitzers are a reminder at how much good, raw, honest reporting and writing is done every year.
I love going through some of the winning submissions and reading the ledes, or just diving into a random section of a great feature story, or investigation, and knowing how that sausage was made.
As a former reporter I was never 1/100th as good as the Pulitzer winners, but I know how many phone calls were made, how many emails were sent, how many doors were slammed in their face, in the pursuit of truth, and a great story. It’s one reason why I love the movie “Spotlight” so damn much: Because it shows how damn hard the work of real journalism actually is.
Anyway, with the coronavirus pandemic crushing newspapers and reporting even more, causing drastic newsroom cuts, I thought it was refreshing to think about the Pulitzers and watch the above PBS NewsHour short piece interviewing two of this year’s winners, both from local newspapers, where so much watchdog journalism takes place.
In this short clip, winners from the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, and the Anchorage (AK) Daily News talk about this strange time in history, and their awards.
I was inspired by it. Please subscribe to your local newspaper if you can.
**Next up today, instead of dwelling on the continued pathetic-ness of our current President, I’m getting encouraged in these dark times by the ads Joe Biden and his Presidential team are making.
In clear, simple, concise language and graphics, Biden is spelling out all the many, many ways Trump has bungled this pandemic. I do hope that as the months go by they attack Trump for many other things, of course, but this is the kind of ad that sticks, because it shows, concretely, how oblivious this President is.
This is another excellent ad, that I hope runs in some form in all 50 states.
**Finally today, the great comic actor Jerry Stiller died on Monday at age 92. Stiller was famous for decades, and became known to my Generation X colleagues and younger through his fantastic portrayal of Frank Costanza, George’s Dad, on “Seinfeld,” and then as Kevin James’ Dad on “The King of Queens.”
But Stiller, father of Ben Stiller, was a sensational comedian long before any of that. He and his wife, Anne Meara, used to do fantastic sketch comedy together, on “The Tonight Show” and other places.
In the remembrances of Stiller’s life I saw the last few days, I found this great old skit: Stiller and Meara, as very different lovers Hershey Horowitz and Mary Elizabeth Doyle, trying to figure out how they can get married.
I thought it was hilarious.