Letters of Mass Construction

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National Enquirer & Pulitzer – Oh the Horror


So it has come to this, The National Enquirer has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism. There are three words I never thought I would see together, National Enquirer and journalism. I know in your head you are wondering how a story about a three headed cow or the latest case of alien probing snatched a nomination. You will be surprised this nomination had nothing to do with “I am Elvis’ alien love child.”

They were in fact nominated for breaking the story about John Edwards not being able to keep his one eyed wonder worm in his pants while his wife was fighting cancer. While this was not a huge stretch from their rag sheet beginnings, it became a huge story in the U.S. newspapers. A story which several newspapers had heard about but not investigated.

I am poking fun at the Enquirer a little in this blog but really I am not trying to knock their story. Good for them, hiring reporters who still know how to investigate a story. I do think it is a giant black eye to newspapers in this country. How is it possible you didn’t produce enough quality work you couldn’t keep the Enquirer from straying into the Pulitzer Prize party? Trust me the nomination committee would have gladly picked something else. Several members tried to get it disqualified on a technicality, calling it a magazine.

It is truly sad what journalism has become in this country. It is amazingly rare for a story to originate in a newspaper and capture national attention. The odds of Woodward and Bernstein exploding into the national consciousness are next to nothing. I am not even sure Watergate would have been broken by a newspaper today.

As bad as I think newspapers are we still have a few out there which do good work (more than I can say for most broadcast news). Newspapers are closing left and right but I think there may be hope on the horizon. The iPad is an amazing deliverer of newspaper content. If I am a well respected newspaper, I get myself on it quickly. I hope they remember one very important rule. Content sells newspapers. Quality sells newspapers. Good journalism will sell newspapers. If you don’t get this right, your days are over and this won’t be the last Pulitzer the National Enquirer gets. I don’t think I want to wade through abduction stories to get my hard news. Well, maybe abduction stories, that shit is funny.


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One Response to “National Enquirer & Pulitzer – Oh the Horror”

  1. Mo says:

    >I used to work for the company that publishes the National Enquirer. I worked on a totally different type of publication, but I have to admit I admired a lot about the Enquirer. Yeah, a lot of their stories are salacious, but they did a tremendous job with reporting. They get a lot of flack for their tactics, but 99.9% of the time they have iron-clad info before they go to print (the lawsuits would have bankrupted the company otherwise). The reporters were encouraged to keep at stories until they had what they needed. Yes, sometimes that meant using "checkbook journalism", but even if they paid a source, that source had to have fairly unimpeachable proof. Somewhere along the line, reporters forgot how to hit their beat and really get the story. Now so many stories get write-arounds from other news sources. It's lazy reporting (newsrooms call it cost-effective) and the readers suffer. Oddly, the newspapers are shocked that they're going out of business.PS: My favorite headline of all time was "Headless, armless dwarf marooned on barstool." I believe it was News of the World, not the Enquirer (but same company).

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