WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Outstanding Work Done by Journalists

May 12, 2020

The winners of the 2020 Pulitzer Prizes were announced last week.  The Shop Talk panelists this week talked about the awards, which are considered among the most prestigious in journalism.

Panelist Will Buss said he finds the Pulitzers alluring because they don’t just honor well-known journalism organizations –outlets in smaller markets have also earned recognition for their work.

Buss said journalism should be more of a service than a business, and he wishes there was less of an emphasis on click bait with online stories.

Panelist Rajvee Subramanian thinks the Investigative Reporting category is pretty cool. This year’s honor went to Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times for “‘They Were Conned’: How Reckless Loans Devastated a Generation of Taxi Drivers.”

Subramanian pointed out investigative journalism can be time-intensive. He wishes news organizations would focus more on investigative work rather than simply churning out stories to fill the daily news hole.

Panelist Rich Egger said he especially enjoyed hearing about the Palestine Herald-Press in East Texas, which won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing.  As NPR reported, the paper did a series of stories called "Death Without Conviction" that shed light on flaws in Texas' system of review for deaths in county jails.

Egger also enjoyed learning that This American Life won the first-even Pulitzer Prize for Audio Reporting.  This American Life was honored for “The Out Crowd," which looks at the personal impact of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues.  This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.