We got an email today that the Joplin Globe didn’t win a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the tragic May 22, 2011 tornado.
But another paper did bring home the big prize for its coverage of its tornado:
BREAKING NEWS REPORTING: The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News.
The newspaper staff won for its coverage of a deadly tornado that barreled through the city shortly after reporters had received training in how to use social media for news coverage.
“Within seconds of when the tornado hit, our staff was out tweeting,” City Editor Katherine Lee said. “At first, it was just ‘bodies on streets, buildings gone, an intersection gone.’”
The newspaper also used traditional reporting to provide real-time updates, help locate missing people and produce in-depth accounts, despite a power disruption in the newsroom.
“I think we won because the tornado hit where we live, and we all felt a responsibility to do this well, to tell our story well — about how people came together to help total strangers,” Lee said.
Look, the Globe did a good job in a shitstorm. But the Globe also did what the Globe does. It put its PR face ahead of its news coverage. The Kansas City Star did a great story about building codes right under the Globe’s nose.
Like Southern, the Globe has tried to milk the tragic event for maximum PR benefit. And if they had put the coverage first, they might have won. And the PR bonanza would have followed.