As DD Degg reports, the Pulitzer Prize folks have awarded a medal to a group of artists and editors who produced a long-form, non-fiction, illustrated report on the suppression of Uyghurs by the Chinese government.
I think that’s a good thing, though I haven’t changed in my general distain for awards. Winning a Pulitzer used to enhance job security, though, in the current catastrophe of journalism, that’s no longer guaranteed. But the publicity can bring your work to a much wider audience, and a check for $15k can pay a debt or two.
However, I have also not changed my general distain for cloth-eared editors who are skilled at spotting typos and grammatical errors but are utterly tone deaf when it comes to nuance, and twice that when nuance is presented in graphic format.
To be honest, the category should, in honor of Thomas Nast, be called “Those Damned Pictures,” because this year’s finalists were
… Friend-of-the-Blog Ann Telnaes and …
… Zoe Si, who has more arrows in her quiver but was honored for her New Yorker cartoons and, I would guess, for her frequent illustrations in that magazine, since I suspect the Pulitzer judges can’t tell the difference.
But, hey, they’re all pictures, and not pictures like photographs, which can be Breaking News Photographs or Feature Photographs, but drawrings which, in the eyes of editors, can be comic books or political cartoons or ceilings of Sistine Chapels or whatever.
Check out the microtome they use to divvy up the awards in Journalism:
Note that they have three different Thumb Sucker Awards for commentary, criticism and editorial writing, and they are also able to spot the difference between “history” and “biography.”
You might think they could differentiate between long-form graphic reporting, political cartooning and humorous cartoons.
You might, but I don’t. I’ve worked with way too many editors over the years.
Fortunately for my own peace of mind, my collection of meaningless state and regional awards is in a box in the closet along with my baby pictures and grade school report cards.
There’s also an international one somewhere, but I never got a copy for myself and, besides, I’m not sure how many entries there were. I have suspicions that wouldn’t impel me to hang the thing on my wall.
Then again, I worked at a paper that was one of three statewide in its circulation category, and they were as proud of their awards as if they’d deserved them.
I drew this up as a gag for my (circulation manager) boss when that newsroom was prancing about slapping themselves on the backs, and I stand by it: People who need awards should get awards and everyone else should just keep taking pride in doing good work.
Clearly, of course, the Pulitzers are big stuff, compared to the virtual participation trophies handed out in the lesser universe.
But, jeez, that sure seems like faint praise.
Speaking of Journalism
We are suddenly getting a flood of books about how the horse got stolen by people whose job it was to lock the barn door.
I understand that it takes time to edit and publish a book, but there’s a point where you’re a bit more than a witness, as Telnaes observes in her poke at Meadows.
General Hertling provides his opinion on those who hide in their foxholes.
Which expert opinions leave me nothing to add, but there’s also this:
NYTimes reporter Jonathan Martin, co-author of “This Shall Not Pass,” the book that revealed Kevin McCarthy’s damning phone calls, was interviewed on 1A, and Jen White asked him (13:35) why they held the information until their book came out.
His response began “Well, there’s been plenty of that kind of commentary, and I get it. Understandably our craft is not easily understood by people who just sort of see things and make assumptions.”
It went downhill from there in a spiral of condescending horseshit that may well have satisfied those yokels who just sort of see things and make assumptions but damn near made me go off the road.
At which point I’ll insert another funny little thing I did some time ago that seems apt.
It may well be that the pair had an agreement with the Times that they would be paid to investigate but were then permitted to keep the good stuff for themselves, but that’s not how my newsroom jobs ever worked.
Granted, I’ll admit to having brought home a pen or two from the office, but, JFC, I didn’t stagger out with cases of office supplies and put them up on Ebay.
If this isn’t a topic of conversation over at the Gray Lady, it sure oughta be.
Now let’s put the journalist shoe on another foot
I agree with Clay Jones and others who have criticized the heartless idea that women should bring pregnancies to term in order to let other people adopt the babies. Not only does it turn both mothers and children into commodities, but it relies on the assumption that every pregnancy is of a healthy child (and should certainly include a call for universal pre-natal services).
Ed Hall originally labeled the woman in black as Amy Coney Barrett, but erased it when he realized the “domestic supply” quote was not hers.
That’s good journalism, because it doesn’t rob him of the right to criticize the viewpoint, just as Jones puts the phrase in less specific faux-life mouths, though they’re still not the source.
I’d like to see someone put that CDC statistic into perspective, because any shortage of adoptable children is not simply the result of abortion but also of better, more available birth control, as well as better sex education in schools.
All of which the faux-life movement aims to end, which is one helluva story.
Worthy of a Pulitzer, if you need a plaque.
Or you might overhear someone talking about it in the supermarket.
Whatever your motivation, so long as it gets covered.