Site Glitch Reveals Who Nominated Themselves For Pulitzer Prize

As part of its secretive judging process, the Pulitzer Prize committee closely guards the names of outlets and reporters who submit their work for consideration. But a loophole in the Prize’s online submission website inadvertently revealed that BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast sought but did not win journalism’s highest honor.

A password retrieval form on Pulitzer.org currently identifies whether someone has registered an account under a particular username or email address. Most usernames and email addresses, when entered, return a “not recognized” notification. Entering the usernames “buzzfeed,” “thedailybeast,” and “pando,” however, returned messages indicating that “further instructions have been sent to your e-mail address.”

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith confirmed the finding in an email to Gawker, but refused to identify which stories the website submitted for consideration. The Daily Beast also entered the Pulitzer contest, a Beast staffer familiar with the process said, but under a different username; “thedailybeast” apparently was used in prior submission cycles.

Pando’s editorial director, Paul Carr, said the “pando” username belonged to someone else. “We didn’t nominate anything for a Pulitzer. Maybe there’s a Mr. P Ando working somewhere.”

Both BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast publish aggressive political reporting and frequent dispatches from conflict zones across the globe. Ben Smith told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that BuzzFeed’s content had successfully expanded beyond listicles like “The 33 Most Jizz-Worthy Moments In Ryan Gosling’s 33 Years On Earth” into on-the-ground coverage of Ukraine.

Indeed, BuzzFeed hasn’t exactly concealed its Pulitzer ambitions. The website’s top editors have recruited prize-winning reporters to staff its nascent investigations team, headed by Pulitzer winner and former ProPublica editor Mark Schoofs. The site’s latest hire, Chris Hamby, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting on Monday.

To contact the author of this post, email trotter@gawker.com

[Photo of Joseph Pulitzer via Associated Press]