The Pulitzer Prizes in an era of change

On 1 September 2017, Mike Pride, former administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, gave the opening lecture at the Sciences Po School of Journalism. 

American columnist Mike Pride, 70, got to see many changes in the media world over the course of his career. After running the newsroom of New Hampshire daily The Concord Monitor for 30 years, he became involved in the Pulitzer Prizes. He served on four juries and was a member of the board for nearly a decade before being appointed administrator of the prizes in 2014. Although Pride retired last July, his passion for journalism seems by no means diminished. Below are a few of the key points from his address.

Between tradition and technology

In view of the big changes that began a decade ago, Mike Pride argued that journalism is in the throes of a revolution and that the golden age of newspaper is coming swiftly to an end. The internet may have partly compensated for the decline of print media but websites are still not profitable enough. The existential crisis of the media industry is not over, according to Pride, for a simple reason: news organisations have yet to answer the question of how to get consumers to pay what news is worth.
 
“Pairing the tried and true values of the past with the new technologies of the present and future” could be part of the equation. Such a mix represents an opportunity but also a challenge for twenty-first-century journalists.
 
On one hand, said Pride, reporters must maintain a form of journalism of the highest quality. This means preserving good writing, which “is the best way to communicate facts and nuances on what happened”.
On the other hand, journalists must find new ways of storytelling and experiment online. Pride noted that modern tools have introduced new ways of assembling facts and exploring controversy. For instance, feature stories can now include all the aspects of a modern presentation: video, audio, text and pictures but also podcast, social media, blog, data visualisation and graphics.

The end of competition

Nowadays, Pride pointed out, TV and radio channels use text and data for their stories while newspapers make use of broadcasting tools on their websites. Similarly, magazines publish some new editions daily on their websites and not only monthly as many used to do. Like newspapers, their digital content includes cultural reviews, political commentary, stories about events and cartoons.  Pride described this phenomenon as a process of “convergence”. He defined the concept as  “the growing similarities among journalism outlets that were once distinguished by different publishing platforms, different schedules and distinct media identities”.
 
One of the main features of this new homogeneity is collaboration within the media industry. “There is no pure competition anymore. Each year, partnerships become vaster and more complex”, Pride explained. As an example, Pride cited the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists who worked on the Panama papers and was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. 300 reporters from six continents took part in the project.
 
However, Pride warned that despite the globalisation of news organisations and the rapidly changing media landscape, journalists must not forget the basics. The aim of journalism remains the same: “to find documents and tell the stories that allow members of the public to be informed and engaged citizens of a free republic”.
 
About the Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prizes are the most famous and prestigious awards for journalism in the USA. They were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist who wanted “to attract young people of character and ability to acquire the highest moral and intellectual training”.  Each year, the jury honours the work of journalists in fourteen different categories, including investigative reporting, feature writing, opinion writing, editorial cartooning and news photography. Letters, drama and music are also rewarded in seven sections.
 

By Tanguy Garrel-Jaffrelot, Master of Journalism & International Affairs student at Sciences Po

Related Links

Headed for an EU career

Headed for an EU career

Licinia Güttel, 19, was born and raised near the small town of Koblenz, Germany. After graduating with honours from Werner Heisenberg Gymnasium Neuwied, she enrolled to study for  the Sciences Po-Freie Universität Berlin dual Bachelor’s degree in political and social sciences. She is also the first recipient of the Stephen M. Kellen scholarship, a dedicated scholarship for students on the Sciences Po-Freie Universität Berlin dual BA programme.

More
10 measures to advance gender equality at university

10 measures to advance gender equality at university

In 2010, Sciences Po created PRESAGE, a gender studies and research programme. This trailblazing initiative now forms part of a comprehensive gender equality action plan. The pioneering nature of this commitment was recognised by the UN Women HeForShe programme, which named Sciences Po President Frédéric Mion as one of 10 university IMPACT champions for gender equality worldwide. More

What Bachelor’s graduates take away from their studies at Sciences Po

What Bachelor’s graduates take away from their studies at Sciences Po

On 6 September, students celebrated their graduation from the Sciences Po Undergraduate College. They all spent two years at one of the seven Sciences Po campuses in France, and one year abroad studying at a partner university. Those enrolled in a dual Bachelor’s degree programme spent two years in France then two years at the partner university abroad.

More
Happy Birthday Le Havre Campus

Happy Birthday Le Havre Campus

On 2 September 2017, current students, alumni, faculty and members of Sciences Po staff came together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Sciences Po campus in Le Havre. In the video, students and alumni talk about life on the campus, present and past.

More
“When I arrived at Sciences Po, i was left-wing”

“When I arrived at Sciences Po, i was left-wing”

“I was eighteen years old, I was just starting at Sciences Po and I was left-wing because, given what I was and what I was reading, I didn’t see how I could have been otherwise*.” The year is 1989. Édouard Philippe had “only just” passed the Sciences Po entrance exam after a year of literary classe préparatoire. It was the start of three “dream years” for him on the university’s Paris campus.

More
“Sciences Po is now my child’s extended family”

“Sciences Po is now my child’s extended family”

On Friday 25 August, parents of first-year students on the Sciences Po campus in Le Havre came from all over the world to attend Welcome Parents Day. Parents were given a tour of the Le Havre campus, which is located on the Normandy coast, and met with the campus director and staff.
Following an information session where they were able to discuss their questions and concerns, parents were shown areas of interest near campus, including the cliffs of Étretat.
 
More

Meet the first MasterCard Foundation Scholars at Sciences Po

Meet the first MasterCard Foundation Scholars at Sciences Po

The first five students to benefit from the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at Sciences Po come from across sub-Saharan Africa. Astou Diouf, 18, is from Senegal, Zipporah Gakuu, 19, from Kenya, Romaric Compaore, 18, from Burkina Faso, Ashale Chi, 17, from Cameroon, and Fitiavana Andry, 17, from Madagascar, making this first cohort representative of Africa in all its diversity.

More

An urgent call for inclusive cities

An urgent call for inclusive cities

On Friday 1 September, term starts at the Sciences Po Urban School. The inaugural lecture entitled “Urbanisation as a tool for development: the New Urban Agenda” will be given by Dr. Joan Clos, former mayor of Barcelona, Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). In an interview with the Urban School, Dr. Clos reflects on the challenges currently posed by urbanisation and outlines the main recommendations of the New Urban Agenda to build inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.

More