No, no, no-I didn’t win this year…of course, no one entered me so I could hardly expect such an honor. But getting a Pulitzer is a very big deal for an author, a journalist, a dramatist or poet. It’s kind of like an Oscar, or a Grammie, or an Emmy, or a Golden Globe.
If you’re fortunate enough to be nominated for an Oscar, your name is announced weeks in advance. You get to pout, preen, say insincerely nice things about your fellow nominees, and plan for the actual ceremony. The red carpet! The dress! The cool suit! Your date for the big event! Win or lose, you have fun for weeks, you go to parties, and you enjoy a nice little moment of fame.
But the Pulitzers? Here’s what happens (taken from the Pulitzer organization’s website).
“The 2009 Pulitzer Prizewinners and Nominated Finalists in all categories (Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music) will be announced on Monday, April 20, 2009 at 3pm eastern time. The announcement is made at a press conference at Columbia University in New York City. Please note that finalists are not announced in advance.”
No party, no black tie event, no publicity, no fun. Just a nasty little press conference hosted by a bunch of boring, superannuated reporter-type people. If you’re a finalist, you only learn about it after you’ve lost.
“Congratulations! You’re a loser! No parties for you-and no one will ever notice.”
These are not the most joyful of times for journalists. Dailies are shrinking or disappearing, weeklies are under siege, and print publications seem destined to follow the passenger pigeon into extinction. In such times, why not market? Why not celebrate the craft? Why not let the stars shine? Why not let Dick Clark take over the whole event (if he’s still alive, that is)?
But don’t stick to gray, boring, stuffy, haughty, soul-deadening Monday afternoon press conferences! Can’t you at least invite the finalists to a bar for drinks & nachos (I hear that there are bars, as well as boring university conference rooms, in Manhattan).
Remember, when the Titanic was sinking, the band kept playing.
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