By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A Pulitzer for the Globe

Congratulations to the Boston Globe and Washington-bureau reporter Charlie Savage, who’ve won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Savage was honored for his series on President Bush’s use and abuse of presidential signing statements, which he’s employed to sign legislation into law even while signaling that he intends to ignore it.

The prize comes at an interesting moment for the Globe, which has been downsizing its way into an almost entirely local paper. While I think that makes a lot of sense in an era when national and international news sites are just a click away, Savage’s award demonstrates that it’s important for the paper to look beyond Route 495 as well.

The Globe’s other finalist, the Spotlight Team’s “Debtor’s Hell” series (helmed by my Northeastern colleague Walter Robinson), didn’t win. Last week, though, it won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Public Service Award, itself a significant honor.

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  1. Anonymous

    A well deserved honor for Charlie Savage, I think.

  2. A.J. Cordi

    I could only imagine the thrill of receiving an award for something you spent so much time on. Kudos to him!

  3. Anonymous

    umm, err, i didn’t read them.

  4. Anonymous

    DK:Your comment about local vs, national for a print publication reminds em to suggest a topic for you: the VA Tech shooting coverage.Far and way the best, most up-to-date and detailed coverage was from the Roanoke Times web site, which switched to a time-stamped blog format and all day yesterday beat the wires, CNN and TV with solid reporting.That undoubtedly drew a national audience while still serving the local community very well. And it shows that even in the Internet age, good reporting begins with local source relationships.-dan h

  5. Anonymous

    Dan Froomkin raises a good point about the Savage series in his White House Watch column today – what message, if any, does this Pulitzer send to the White House press corps? How’s it look when someone from outside actually reports on the White House and wins a prestigious award for it?

  6. Tony

    Interestingly though, there is this post on DailyKos, suggesting that Charlie Savage may have stolen the idea for the article from a legal blog:

  7. Adam

    Tony, that post doesn’t actually use the word “stolen”–it says Savage’s reportage “bubbled up from the blogosphere.” Based on the post, that may or may not be the case.

  8. Don

    You begin to wonder about the Pulitzer’s when they reward a food critic for the throw-away free L.A. Weekly.

  9. Tony

    Adam: Agreed. “Stolen” was my word. And while it wasn’t lifted, the story idea seems to have come from the blog, not the reporter. And yet the reporter was awarded for it as his own. That is dicey to me.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    OK, I’ve read Michael Roston’s post on Daily Kos. Roston gives Savage full credit, as he should. And even if Savage did get the idea for this from Marty Lederman’s blog (something we can’t be sure of without asking Savage), it strikes me — and Roston — that this is exactly the way it’s supposed to work. Savage cited Lederman as one of his expert sources and then took the story much further. Good Lord, what is wrong with that?

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