The T-P wins a Pulitzer: Jeff Jarvis has always been nice to credit me with my early and continuous urging of the powers-that-be to award a Pulitzer Prize to the Times Picayune’s online efforts after Katrina. Jeff’s bully pulpit is much bullier than mine; I was just stating the obvious – never before had I been moved by such coverage of a breaking news story. As Jeff notes today, the Pulitzer folks have seen the future and while not awarding Nola.com the award explicitly, the online coverage played a significant and acknowledged part in the award.
The T-P did not even have the ability to print a paper in the days following Katrina. Indeed, the reporters and staff of the paper were living through the hell themselves — and still they kept their readers — and the world — informed. History will note the way in which the Picayune’s online coverage of Katrina has forever changed the way in which a breaking catastrophic story can be — should be — reported. It proved that many of the conventions first developed and refined by bloggers, specifically the reverse-chronological display of stories and, at times, the reassuring, compassionate and conversational human voice, are more effective online than the “above the fold” headline, inverted pyramid and 5-Ws (who, what, etc.) of the print newspaper era.