National Press Club

Honoring Excellence in Journalism

Myron Belkind | April 17, 2014

The day that the Pulitzer Prizes are announced each year is very special for our profession, because they demonstrate the very best that journalism produces.

I always tell my students at The George Washington University to read all the winning entries, because together they have a wealth of exemplary writing and reporting that demonstrate better than any textbook how to achieve excellence.

This year’s Pulitzers maintain that tradition and should make us all proud --- even if we did not win our own Pulitzer – why we chose to pursue that profession.

The National Press Club is pleased to congratulate this year’s winners and to thank them for their very special contributions to journalism through the body of work they produced in the past year.

The National Press Club also would like to extend its congratulations to those at The Washington Post who joined the NPC in recent months and were part of the leadership at the newspaper that contributed to its Pulitzer successes:

Marty Baron, executive editor
Kevin Merida, managing editor
Kathryn Weymouth, publisher

Are the Pulitzer Prizes still relevant? That is the question raised by Margaret Sullivan, the public reader of The New York Times, in her blog following the announcement of the Pulitzers on Monday.

Her response, in my view, says it all.

“It can’t be denied that these prizes, prestigious as they are, have a downside: They often encourage “designer journalism” intended to win prizes rather than serve the true interests of the reader. (Stories that are far too lengthy and come screeching into publication just before the end of the calendar year – that’s the cutoff point — may be examples of this.)

“But what’s more important is that the Pulitzers encourage journalists and news organizations to strive to do their best; the prizes provide a benchmark, a focal point and an inspiration for outstanding work. They also give important and lasting recognition to work that took courage or put journalists in harm’s way.

“In an era when journalism is changing radically, when press rights are under siege from the federal government, when news organizations are redefining themselves daily, I’d call that relevant.”