The Nobel to Obama;
Follows the Will of Alfred Nobel
Needed: A Pulitzer to the Journalist Who Tracks that Issue.
The Criteria are in the Will
Well done, Obama.
The Peace Prize is an award to the sowers among us.
The Pulitzer Journalism Prize is an award to those who play fair, serving truths, respecting rules, greater than self-interest.
* Edwardian hatpin, golf club.
The two sets of Prizes here have familiar names, but a closer look at their backgrounds helps assess the brouhaha about President Obama's award for the Nobel Peace Prize. Pulitzer-Nobel. Nobel-Pulitzer. Which is which, and did the Nobel Committee stay within its mandate to reward achievement. How is "achievement" defined in the Prize context. Edit online until we get it reasonably right.
- Here we look at the prizes set up by Alfred Nobel and Joseph Pulitzer in the early 20th Century. There is some overlap in subject matter. Nobel rewards achievement in a) fields of knowledge in the sciences, b) the creative mind in literature, and c) peace - human relationships on the international scale. Pulitzer rewards excellence in a) public service in journalism, and b) the arts and letters.
- Is it appropriate for the Nobel to award the Peace Prize for Advances and Innovation, for dedication to a process, even if the goal is not yet reached, or may never be reached.
The Nobel Peace Prize award to President Obama was appropriate, even brilliant, because "peace" is ongoing process, never "accomplished" despite the signing of papers. Rumbles continue and reworkings always needed. There is no full stop in the field of human and state relationships. The Committee applied the mandated standards. Go back to the Presentation Speech
- So: Which journalist would get a Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in covering the issue? Apply the Pulitzer standard. The Pulitzer journalism standard is public service, and the award is an incentive to excellence. Excellence is a stand-alone concept; and discretionary with the Committee. A work can be excellent even if it is obstructed by others for their reasons (ban, censor, misrepresent, pan).
Persuasion journalism, or its extreme, yellow journalism, is not Pulitzer material.
I. The Prizes.
A. Joseph Pulitzer and His Prizes, Including for Public Service in Journalism
Joseph Pulitzer was a newspaper publisher, a visionary, Hungarian by background, "a passionate crusader against dishonest government." He set up, through his will, in about 1904, a system of prizes to be awarded, with a particular mission in journalism, history, biography, letters: as "an incentive to excellence (emphasis supplies)". See The Pulitzer Prizes at ://www.pulitzer.org/historyofprizes/.
Prizes were first given in 1917. And the categories were:
- letters and drama
- an American novel
- an original American play shown in NY
- a book on American history
- an American biography
- a history of public history, press
- traveling scholarships
Serve and battle for the people. Read his mission statement in taking over The New York World in 1883: Joseph Pulitzer vowed he would make it a paper
"truly democratic... that will expose all fraud and sham; fight all public evils and abuses... that will serve and battle for the people with earnest sincerity."See Joseph Pulitzer at://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/pulitzer.htm
The Board was given broad discretion in how to award, and what. The categories are not absolute. Music categories have been added, and online journalism. The Board is free to fashion its own awards, within the mission. Throughout, however, the prizes have been for excellence, as a stand-alone matter. Whether or not others agree, or obstruct the effort, the work is assessed on its own. The award provides an incentive to continue on the path; even if the work is not finished, "accomplished." See excellence on the verge? Excellent.
B. Alfred Nobel and His Prizes, Including for Peace
Alfred Nobel (1833-1936) was an inventor, chemist and industrialist, researcher and innovator, Swedish by background. Among his inventions: a gelatine used in explosives. He also set up a system of prizes through his will, with a mission to award persons in a different field from journalism and letters. He wanted to award those who make "remarkable achievements" in specific fields of knowledge (physics, physiology, chemistry, medicine), but also literature, and human relationships - peace.See ://www.nobelkepu.org.cn/english/100years/134172.shtml/ His own lifetime achievements? He declared none.
That Nobel Prize site, Nobelkepu.org, is a rocky translation into English, but the more moving for its literalism in describing Alfred Nobel. He "left us lofty ideology of hardworking, looking down up material honors." He lived simply. He received many honors from other nations, but not for the dynamite. Instead, he got awards for incidentals like his cooking, or his accidental friendship with an official. Nobelkepu site.
The Nobel envisions an award for Achievement. Achievement for purposes of the Nobel has always included advancements, insights, and innovations. Look at the Nobel fields of knowledge, the sciences; and the creative field, literature; and the elusive human relationship field, peace. Cancer is not yet cured; but advancements in understanding and treatment of it are rewarded, for example.
C. The Award of The Nobel Peace Prize Committee for 2009 to President Barack Obama.
C.1 The Nobel Committee's Stated Grounds.
Read the Nobel Committee's own standards and commentary about the nature of the achievement of Barack Obama in the cause of peace at ://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/press.html/.
The Committee awarded the prize to President Obama
- "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples;" and
- for his "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."
- for setting a "new climate" and
- for his "use of dialogue and negotiations" as instruments for resolving conflicts.
The issue many journalists raise is whether, since "peace" itself in no geographic area in which President Obama has worked has not been achieved, why give the award for a work in process, for uses of tools that may not ever succeed. They equate advancement and innovation, that has not yet brought about peace, as lack of "accomplishment." Where is the achievement, they ask.
Advances and Innovation constitute Achievement in medicine and other fields of science. Advances and innovation constitute achievement also in human and international relations. Cure is not the test for an award in medicine. Neither is actual peace in our time. O Lord!
How long, etc.
Blend in excellence. Excellence stands alone. Intrinsic. On its own merits. Excellence can be achieved despite the obstructionism of other elements. Or no goal reached, yet, or ever. Prematurity as a criticism requires that the original intent of those awarding the prize is an award for accomplished goals, not inspiration, not incentive, not advancements or innovations. Not so.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee for 2009 was correct in its award to Obama because they followed the mandate of Alfred Nobel. They applied the standard of "remarkable achievement" to Obama's use of new tools in seeking peace (it can never be totally "achieved").
How could the Nobel be only for "accomplishment"? Any boor can thwart progress. Just taint the test tube. Destroy the keys. Spin beyond ken. Don't show up. Elocute for an hour and a half when you are supposed to talk for 15 minutes. Say you will and then you don't.
It only takes one boor to block a road. Why elevate the boor for the blockage? But the ideas carry on. For many recipients, implementation was delayed or never occurred. And the Prize was appropriately awarded then and now.
II. Which Journalists get the Pulitzer for coverage of the Nobel Peace Price Award to President Obama.
Will anyone win. Which journalist follows the mandate of Joseph Pulitzer and his personal philosophy about merit in journalism. Which journalist dedicates himself or herself to expose fraud and sham, fight public evils and abuses, "serve and battle for the people with earnest sincerity." See ://www.journalism.columbia.edu/cs/ContentServer/jrn/1165270052298/JRN_News_C/1175295286785/JRNNewsDetail.htm/
What is excellence in journalism?
- News. Present first, a neutral and thorough fact background. Cite sources. If opinion is called for
- Opinion. Reason through to an opinion stemming from those stated facts, that are made available to the reader; and lay out how and why they are weighted. Use the opinion pagel or, if the piece is investigative, label it so and then put the opinion in (also clearly labeled as such).
- no persuasion journalism (propaganda) by slipping in opinion by tilt of word in the facts, misstating or understating facts, or stage technique
- no blurring news and opinion so viewers and readers are encouraged to mistake opinion for fact
- opinion is not fact
Since its establishment in 1904, the Pulitzer Prize has been awarded as an incentive to excellence. Incentive. Incentive. Encourage. Cheer on. See the site of the Prize people. And the areas. Areas for recognition: See its site at The Pulitzer Prizes, History, at ://www.pulitzer.org/historyofprizes/.
This makes sense. How could there be "accomplishment" in eradicating corruption, fraud and exploitation. There can only be the battle for the accomplishment. It is never done. There can be excellence in the presentation, but whether it "worked" is not the point. And there is broad discretion in awarding the prize. Who to second-guess?
The Obama coverage?
There are no Pulitzers here. We see opinions, disembodied from facts about the mandates of the Prizes, and churned and turned into media virus. Persuasion journalism. The new yellow journalism. See http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/spanamer/yellow.htm