Handicapping The Pulitzers

Yesterday, in what is becoming an annual tradition, Editor & Publisher revealed a leaked list of Pulitzer finalists. Two Gawker editors, who hereby affirm at the outset that they have read almost none of the nominated stories in question, sat down today to handicap the awards. Their predictions are lengthy, ill-informed, and almost certain to be incorrect. Still, it's Friday afternoon and you need something to print out for your train ride home. Why not this?

BALK BTW: So. The Pulitzers.
RHYMES WITH STORY: YES! Putting on the 'Litz!
BALK BTW: Let's start with the obvious things people are talking about. Why did they fuck the Times? Are they trying to send a message to Tribune? Why must something from fucking Oregon always get a prize?
RHYMES WITH STORY: Well, as for what everyone's saying is a New York Times skull-fuckery, I'm not convinced. Editorial writing and criticism are unleaked, as of yet. They can easily compete in that field, since apparently the world is composed of idiots.
BALK BTW: But the stories that didn't get picked:."Broken Bench" not getting a nod ASTOUNDS me.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Which one was THAT?
BALK BTW: The one about how every judge upstate is an inbred yahoo.
BALK BTW: That actually CHANGED things. [New York State Chief Judge] Judith Kaye put a fucking panel together. Spitzer's looking into it.
RHYMES WITH STORY: That was wholly worthwhile.
RHYMES WITH STORY: But what—they were going to get a nom for Local Reporting? For what? Alan Feuer? Back today, after 9-week absence, or whatever?
RHYMES WITH STORY: I don't even know what Explanatory Journalism: "The New York Times - Diabetes" was for.
BALK BTW: Someone was driving through a poor neighborhood and noticed a lot of fat people.
RHYMES WITH STORY: That happens to me every time I go visit my moms!
BALK BTW: I'm also surprised - but thrilled - that GILDED PAYCHECKS didn't get anything.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Oh I sort of liked Meet Rich People. I love the straight-up excess coverage.
BALK BTW: It just reeked of — sorry — entitlement. Pulitz me, bitch!
RHYMES WITH STORY: Well you know what my obsession of the year was.
RHYMES WITH STORY: The Times Coast Guard story!
BALK BTW: Yes, yes. Explain to me the importance of that.
RHYMES WITH STORY: It ran A1 on a Saturday, as I recall. I was on the LIRR. I was eating a peanut butter sandwich. And then I realized: Now I must become a drug runner! The Coast Guard is FUCKED!
RHYMES WITH STORY: They spent MILLIONS of dollars in contracts to build SHITTY BOATS. That ALL of their in-house engineers were like, UH THESE FUCKERS WON'T FLOAT.
RHYMES WITH STORY: And now there's like... NOTHING.
BALK BTW: Oh my God, the Coast Guard is run by our tech team!
RHYMES WITH STORY: They have like one cute cigarette boat. It was a STUNNING display of institutional crazy, well reported.
BALK BTW: Did anything happen as a result?
RHYMES WITH STORY: Beats me!
RHYMES WITH STORY: I haven't smuggled any coke recently. Even though Lockhart keeps asking me to.
BALK BTW: Anyway, okay, so the Times may or may not have gotten jobbed, depending on whether they recognize Magnolia Whatever's critical brilliance.
BALK BTW: Anything else jump out at you from a brief overview of the list?
RHYMES WITH STORY: Well, the LAT oceans thing was the baitiest Pulitzer bait in baiting history. So good for Dean Baquet and Co. Oh wait. Also sad!
BALK BTW: Isn't that nomination sort of a Fuck you to Tribune?
RHYMES WITH STORY: Why, because their newspapers are DESTROYING THE OCEANS?
RHYMES WITH STORY: I don't think there's much of a message.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Is the Oregonian... from Oregon?
BALK BTW: I think it just may be. Portland? There's one of those in Oregon, right?
RHYMES WITH STORY: I always confuse it with that place from which Susan Orlean came.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Willamette Weekly, or whatever. But clearly: Not the same!
BALK BTW: I think they also have a Eugene or something. Who gives a fuck, it's Oregon?
RHYMES WITH STORY: Truly.
BALK BTW: I think it's a Newhouse newspaper, actually
RHYMES WITH STORY: But speaking of Tribune, the "Local Reporting" category features The Sun of Baltimore, which the rest of us call The Baltimore Sun.
BALK BTW: Odd, they don't say what the story they're nominated for, but, not having read any of the three, my money's on that one, just because "The Wire" was so popular this year.
RHYMES WITH STORY: I'm assuming it has to do with "The Wire!"
RHYMES WITH STORY: HA. Oh that's sad.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Well, since they have no more national and international reporters, good damn thing they're doing well on local!
BALK BTW: Okay:

BALK BTW: International Reporting
1. The Wall Street Journal - China
2. Los Angeles Times - Iraq
3. The Washington Post - Lebanon
RHYMES WITH STORY: I vote for China!
RHYMES WITH STORY: I mean, WTF?
BALK BTW: I'd go with that too. Iraq so depressing to read about.
BALK BTW: And Lebanon should just be happy to be nominated.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Who the fuck talks about Lebanon?
BALK BTW: Exactly.

BALK BTW: Public Service
1. The Wall Street Journal - Backdating investments
2. The Washington Post - Farm subsidies
3. Birmingham News - Community college corruption
BALK BTW: I'm voting backdating.
BALK BTW: Corrupt CEOs and complicit boards? No one can understand the technicalities of it, but its the gift that keeps on giving. Also, Steve Jobs is hot copy.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Backdating farm subsidies!
BALK BTW: Community college corruption seems like something the Broward paper that Ortega came from should be doing.
RHYMES WITH STORY: This is like a topic of conversation that defies joke-making!
BALK BTW: I know! And there are eight fucking more categories.
RHYMES WITH STORY: I love that the Denver Post is up for "Blizzards."
RHYMES WITH STORY: Snow! In the Rockies!
BALK BTW: Write what you know.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Or Dairy Queen. Who knows?

BALK BTW: Investigative Journalism
1. Hartford Courant - Mentally Ill soldiers
2. The Seattle Times - "Your Courts, Their Secrets"
3. The Seattle Times - "License to Harm"
BALK BTW: I say Seattle splits its vote, giving the prize to the Courant.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Another win for Tribune!
RHYMES WITH STORY: A paper packed with fantastic middle-aged dude reporters who wish they didn't work for those jackasses.
BALK BTW: Still, looks good on a resume when they come calling to kids at Politico.

BALK BTW: Explanatory journalism
1. Los Angeles Times - "Altered Oceans"
2. The New York Times - Diabetes
3. The Virginian-Pilot - Security firm
BALK BTW: This has to be oceans, right?
BALK BTW: I mean, diabetes is a fucking joke.
BALK BTW: Not actual diabetes, but that series.
RHYMES WITH STORY: If Oceans doesn't win, there's gonna be some fucking pissed-off people in LA.
RHYMES WITH STORY: FINE. LAUGH AT DIABETES.
BALK BTW: "The sweet blood." Sweet Christ.
RHYMES WITH STORY: I mean, really, I'm all atwitter about Featuring Writing and Criticism.
BALK BTW: We're almost there!
RHYMES WITH STORY: Last year brought us ROBIN GIVHAN for criticism, did it not?
BALK BTW: Oh, God.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Listen. I don't want to knock a sister.
RHYMES WITH STORY: There's so few of us in the biz, you know.
RHYMES WITH STORY: But, her beating out Jerry Saltz was ROUGH.
BALK BTW: See, you do too know stuff!

BALK BTW: Commentary
1. Joe Nocera - The New York Times
2. Cynthia Tucker - Atlanta Journal Constitution
3. Ruth Marcus - The Washington Post
RHYMES WITH STORY: Two ladies!
RHYMES WITH STORY: Ladies get to have opinions!
BALK BTW: My money's on Nocera. Marcus is a joke. Do not know Tucker, but it feels like a businessy year. Plus, they have to give the Times something.
RHYMES WITH STORY: That Malcolm Gladwell article was ENRAGING. You cannot write about a legal case and toss out legal constraints. And so Nocera gets my Personal 'Litzer.

BALK BTW: Breaking News
1. The Oregonian - Lost Family
2. The Denver Post - Blizzards
3. Not yet confirmed
BALK BTW: Whatever "not yet confirmed" is, it has got to be better than the other two.
RHYMES WITH STORY: I'm praying so.
BALK BTW: "Dog has puppies" would surpass.
RHYMES WITH STORY: OH!: Wait! Lost Family! That was that amazing horrible sad thing! That was like, an internet sensation.
BALK BTW: The C-net guy?
RHYMES WITH STORY: I think so? I'm assuming that's it.
BALK BTW: Hmmm... fellow journalist as well.
BALK BTW: Okay, I change my vote.
RHYMES WITH STORY: And I think they did an amazing job on it.
RHYMES WITH STORY: But fuck a sack of blizzards. (Although I'm sure they suffered. I wouldn't report SHIT in a damn blizzard.)

BALK BTW: Feature Writing
1. The Oregonian
2. The New York Times
3. St. Petersburg Times.
RHYMES WITH STORY: First of all, I object to the entire CONCEPT of "Feature Writing."
RHYMES WITH STORY: Second of all... oh must I go on? Will this mean the NYT mag, or, gah, Styles?
BALK BTW: Solely the oeuvre of Stephanie Rosenbloom
RHYMES WITH STORY: Oh, that Rocky Mountain News guy won last year.
RHYMES WITH STORY: That was ROUGH.
RHYMES WITH STORY: For the Marine who tells people their kids are dead in Iraq.
RHYMES WITH STORY: That was some fucked up shit, yo.
RHYMES WITH STORY: RICK BRAGG won for the NYT in 1996. And the NYT hasn't won since.
BALK BTW: Deservedly so.
BALK BTW: It's like Kevin Costner winning Best Director for "Dances with Wolves." I'm sure they're still ashamed.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Indeed. Once burned, twice shy.
BALK BTW: Okay, something from Oregon MUST ALWAYS win a prize, so I'm going with The Oregonian.
RHYMES WITH STORY: How can you INSIST that the Pulitzers are political in such a fashion?
RHYMES WITH STORY: These are the PURE OF HEART awards!
BALK BTW: You're thinking Oregonian too, then.
RHYMES WITH STORY: Natch!

BALK BTW: Editorial Cartoonist
1. Walt Handelsman - Newsday
2. Nick Anderson - Houston Chronicle
3. Mike Thompson - Detroit Free Press
RHYMES WITH STORY: Who the...
BALK BTW: Handelsman's won it before is all I know.
RHYMES WITH STORY: NEWSDAY IS PUBLISHING? Could someone tell someone this? Should we post a breaking news alert?
BALK BTW: You know no one on the Island, do you.
RHYMES WITH STORY: I believe I've already referred to my time on the LIRR!
RHYMES WITH STORY: Which come to think of it, is where I see Newsday!
BALK BTW: There ya go. Pick one and let's be done with this, please.
RHYMES WITH STORY: I like Detroit! They have a great quarterback!
BALK BTW: Hahahaha, why the hell not.
BALK BTW: Is ANY OF THIS salvageable?
RHYMES WITH STORY: TONS of it!
RHYMES WITH STORY: Cuz I'll print ANY CRAP.
BALK BTW: Anyone who was read to the bottom of this has just now realized that. Okay, that should do it. Let's post this sucker.

Here We Go Again — Pulitzer Finalists Leaked! [E&P]