Pulitzers change rules to allow more online work

Dec 02, 2009 By KAREN MATTHEWS , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- The Pulitzer Prize board announced Wednesday that it will open its doors wider to journalism entries from online-only news publications.

The Pulitzer board changed its entry requirements a year ago to allow entries from Internet-only publications in all 14 journalism categories if the Web site was "primarily dedicated" to original news reporting.

The board said Wednesday it will drop that requirement. The board will also allow entries from Web sites that primarily publish commentary and links to other sites.

"The revised rule will provide more flexibility as we focus on the merit of an entry rather than the mission of the Web site where it appeared," said Sig Gissler, administrator of the prizes.

Consistent with its historic focus on daily and weekly newspapers, the board will continue to exclude entries from magazines and broadcast media and their respective Web sites.

The Pulitzer Prizes are the most prestigious awards in journalism and are presented each year by Columbia University.

Scott Bosley, executive director of the American Society of News Editors, called the change in eligibility rules "a logical way of adapting to the change in the landscape."

Bosley noted that ASNE changed its name this year from the American Society of Newspaper Editors to the American Society of News Editors and broadened its membership to include editors of Web-only publications.

"We didn't go out of the newspaper realm until this year," Bosley said. "And now we do."

Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar at the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Poynter Institute, a journalism school, said the Pulitzer board has historically adapted to changes in the way journalism is practiced, for example by adding categories such as feature writing and explanatory writing.

"I admire the way in which the board has taken very seriously the new forms of journalistic expression and ... found ways to broaden the scope of the prizes," Clark said.

Gissler declined to provide an example of a Web site that would be eligible for a Pulitzer Prize under the new rules.

He said the board would continue to monitor developments in digital journalism.

On the Net: http://www.pulitzer.org/

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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