Newsrooms await 100th Pulitzer prize announcements

pulitzer prize bloomberg 2015
Pulitzer prizes in journalism to be announced for 100th time Monday.

The Pulitzer Prizes, honoring the best in print journalism, will be awarded for the one hundredth time on Monday afternoon.

The Pulitzers are considered the most prestigious prizes in journalism, a crowning achievement in the careers of some writers, and a catapult for others.

Roy J. Harris Jr., a Pulitzer expert, said that when he speaks with potentially prize-winning journalists ahead of time, “I call it the Voldemort Prize, because no one wants to use the P-word before they’re announced.”

Some newspaper newsrooms gather their staffs at 3 p.m. for celebrations of the prizes. The New York Times’ third floor gathering will be shared with the public for the first time: the Times will live-stream it via Facebook Live.

On Monday morning there was buzz that The Washington Post had won a Pulitzer, perhaps for its work on a project about police-involved shootings.

Politico Playbook said that “Washington Post national reporter Wesley Lowery jubilantly told friends at a party this weekend that he and a Post team” had been tipped off to the win.

It is true that winners do sometimes receive a heads up ahead of time. “Lowery says the N.Y. Times also won,” according to Playbook.

A Pulitzer spokeswoman declined to comment.

The prizes, named for the pioneering newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, were established by Columbia University in 1917.

There are 14 journalism categories, primarily recognizing the work of print newspapers, but also recognizing magazines and digital news organizations. There are five book categories, one drama category and one music composition.

The smash hit play “Hamilton” is seen as the overwhelming favorite for the drama category.

Harris Jr., the author of “Pulitzer’s Gold,” a book about the history of the prizes, said it is always risky to predict the winners.

That said, “the clearest Pulitzer journalism front-runner, based on stories that won other, earlier press contests, appeared to be in the International Reporting category, where the Associated Press had been celebrated for its ‘Seafood from Slaves’ series, about the use of slave labor in Thai fishing operations,” he said.

Related: Last year’s Pulitzer Prize winners

The top prize is the Public Service gold medal. Last year it was presented to the Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, for a series of stories about domestic violence, titled “Till Death Do Us Part.”

This year, Harris Jr. said, a leading candidate for the medal is a Tampa Bay Times series called “Failure Factories,” looking at the “re-segregating of schools in Florida’s Pinellas County, leading to plunging student test results and other deterioration in some schools.”

“However, in a year without a story that’s nationally celebrated — like the Boston Globe’s 2002 priest-sex-abuse expose, or the 2013 Washington Post and Guardian-US web site revelations about the National Security Administration’s domestic spying on U.S. citizens — that could open the Pulitzer board to choosing a dark horse winner in Public Service, something it does frequently,” he added.

Last year the only digital media winner was Bloomberg News, for a series called “Tax Runaways.” The Huffington Post and InsideClimate News have earned Pulitzers in past years.

This year there could be more digital winners: print and online magazines were eligible in five categories this year, up from just two categories last year.

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