The results are in and they amount to a damning critique of financial journalism. No financial journalists or commentators won any prizes.
The New York Times staff won for breaking the story of the Spitzer sex scandal, which is the closest a Wall Street-linked story came to winning. Otherwise, the Putlizer board gave several half-hearted “finalist” nods to Putlizer also-rans.
- The New York Times was named a finalist for its “comprehensive coverage of the economic meltdown of 2008, setting a standard for depth and sophistication while making the arcane world of finance and banking accessible to an often bewildered public.”
- The Wall Street Journal got the finalist pat on the back for “its highly detailed coverage of the collapse of America’s financial system, explicating key decisions, capturing the sense of calamity and charting the human toll.”
- Paul Krugman was praised as a finalist “for his prophetic columns on economic peril during a year of financial calamity, blending the scholarly knowledge of a distinguished economist with the skill of a wordsmith.
- Charles Lane of the Washington Post got the finalist tap for “his succinct and insightful editorials on the nation’s economic collapse, zeroing in on problems and offering solutions with a steady voice of reasonhis succinct and insightful editorials on the nation’s economic collapse, zeroing in on problems and offering solutions with a steady voice of reason.”
- Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post were named as finalists for “their vivid, richly documented explanation of why AIG, the insurance industry giant, nearly collapsed and what lessons the crisis holds for the nation’s policymakers.”
The big oversight is probably the lack of a prize or even a finalist hand-clap for Kate Kelly, whose stories in the Wall Street Journal about the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers have been so important to shaping the public understanding of those crucial deaths on Wall Street weekends last year. The Journal’s editorial board was also overlooked despite its withering coverage of Fannie Mae.