These Pulitzer prizes winners reveal how media will never be the same

pulitzer prizesThe 2013 Pulitzer prizes for journalism point to the digital, social future of the news. While most of the prize recipients work for traditional journalism outlets like the New York Times and the Tampa Bay Times, many of the winning projects contained substantial digital components or used social media as a news tool. 

Three of the prizes stand out in the way they underline what the future of journalism looks like. Here’s a hint: The bullpen might be closing its doors. 

A looping video brings us inside “Snow Fall” 

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 2.27.24 PM

The New York Times took home one of the prizes for an extremely well-designed and intricate story called “Snow Fall: the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” which gave readers a full-throttle, immersive experience detailing a fatal avalanche in Washington. It looked like nothing else on the Web and was an obvious departure from the Times’ usual online layout, with videos inter-spliced into the story, which scrolled down in a single elegant column. The storytelling was incredible, but what really made the piece stand out was how well the multimedia was rendered. You had the sound of howling winds and a detailed map of the event – you couldn’t get much closer to transporting you to a snow-drenched mountain. 

Now, stories like “Snow Fall” don’t come cheap. It clearly cost the New York Times a lot of money to produce reporter John Branch’s story the way it did. The amount of money the news outlet made off the story was likely a secondary concern to trying something new and exciting. So even though it was spectacular, this particular type of lush, gorgeous integrated reporting is simply too expensive for most news outlets. 

But one element of the story did presage a digital trend: the looping video at the beginning. 2012 was the year of the GIF, but 2013 may be the year of the Vine – both looping video formats getting more incorporated into the news and mainstream media. Vine is already finding its purpose as a breaking news tool – people are using it to upload raw footage of events, like the aftermath of an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and the Boston marathon explosions. 

The Denver Post conquers online, breaking news  

The Denver Post took home the Breaking News award for its coverage of the Aurora movie theater shooting, and the paper still has a hearty, regularly updated online section devoted to following up on the story. 

But although the newspaper’s website is well-organized, the most interesting part of The Denver Post’s win is how reporters used other pockets of the Internet to find out what was happening. They adeptly integrated a Twitter live feed into their reporting, and used social media as a critical tool to accurately and comprehensively cover the story. Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 3.32.49 PM

As The Post described its coverage on the Pulitzer website, “Over the course of the first four days of the shooting, The Post and its reporters posted more than a thousand entries on Twitter and Facebook. What follows on the next pages is a sampling of the first 24 hours of coverage. We followed that on day two with minute-by-minute tweets as bomb experts disarmed James Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment; and then from President Obama’s visit and the memorial on Sunday; and finally, from the hearing and Holmes’ first appearance on Monday. In between, the people who follow @denverpost and our reporters and editors knew what we knew — immediately.” 

When horrible things happen, social media – with Twitter and Reddit taking center stage – is now a major tool for journalists and ordinary people trying to piece together what’s happening. And even though the churning, constantly-updated and unverified nature of social media means some bad information gets spread, the benefits of these tools outweigh the negatives.

E-books and smaller organizations are getting a warmer reception 

Most of the outlets awarded still have paper-and-ink editions, but the award for National Reporting went to InsideClimate News for its reporting on “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of.” ICN is based in Brooklyn but has a virtual newsroom of just seven full-time journalists – they describe their outfit as “a mature virtual newsroom of seven full time professional journalists and a growing network of contributors. We’re aiming to double in size and come to full scale in the next two years.” In other words, this is a startup.

The fact that the Pulitzer committee recognized the caliber of their contributions demonstrates how much legitimacy online-only, small-time news organizations can get if their content is strong. ICN is only the third Web-based news organization to win a Pulitzer, and the Huffington Post and ProPublica (the other two organizations) are far larger, with more name recognition. It’s heartening to see the Pulitzer awarded to a less established online organization, and this accomplishment may lead other publications to consider using the e-book as a long-form journalism format. 

Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
DT Daily

DT Daily: Windows woes, A.I. news anchors, and Disney’s streaming service

On the fourteenth episode of DT Daily, host Greg Nibler and guest Nicole Raney talked about the biggest tech stories of the day, including a troublesome Windows 10 update, China's A.I. news anchor, and more.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."