Pulitzer peacockery

Slate‘s Jack Shafer thinks America’s Pulitzer Prizes — announced today — are mere “industry peacockery.”

Shafer says Joseph Pulitzer was “one of the inventors of yellow journalism,” and today’s prizes are too narrow: “Even the Academy Awards are more ecumenical than the Pulitzers,
honoring foreign films, short subjects, technical achievement, animated
features, and even the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.” He insists that the media has no business reporting the awards as general news.

Shafer, a some-time judge of various competitions, doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for journalism awards in general: “There’s no real science or even fairness behind the picking of winners and losers, with the prizes handed out according to a formula composed of one part log-rolling, two parts merit, three parts “we owe him one,” and four parts random distribution.” Shafer says he’s only once entered his own work in an awards competition. (He did not win.)