In case you missed in, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel won its very first Pulitzer Prize.
The Sun Sentinel was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for public service journalism on Monday for its investigation of off-duty police officers endangering the lives of citizens by speeding.
The newspaper launched its three-month investigation after an off-duty Miami police officer was pulled over by a Florida state trooper for driving 120 mph in the fall of 2011.
Congratulations! But frankly, I’m shocked (shocked). And I’m not alone.
Reached for comment, former Editor in Chief Earl Maucher agreed enthusiastically that “This is indeed a great honor, and I’m proud of our people who worked so hard on this story,” but he nevertheless expressed the same surprise that most readers (and even more former readers) experienced at hearing the news.
“After all the efforts I and the Tribune Company put into shrinking this newspaper’s resources — eliminating whole departments, furloughing experienced journalists, reducing copywriters and editors, firing reporters, and downplaying the importance of news generally, it’s astonishing that anything even passably acceptable as journalism should ever be produced. Frankly, as pleased as I am, I’m well, shocked! (shocked!”)
Editorial page editor and veteran Sun-Sentinel hack Kingsley Guy agreed. “The last thing we emphasize at this newspaper is journalistic integrity,” he confirmed. “Basically, our business model is to fill in the white space around the ads with chaff and fluff. Where we absolutely must, we rely on 2- and 3-day old wire service reports. Cheaper that way and besides, nobody under the age of dead plus 30 reads newspapers anymore! So this came out of nowhere.”
Most readers anticipate that investigative reporter Sally Kestin, database specialist John Maines, and investigative team editor John Dahlburg will parlay their award into genuine journalistic employment elsewhere as soon as possible — assuming such opportunities even exist anymore. Which is to say, they’re leaving South Florida.