Media Watch

We won! So did we! Us too!

Well, as you've noted elsewhere in this edition, the Arizona Press Club's annual awards were handed out April 23. And has happens every year, everybody writes about their own winners and ignores the competition.

At least that's the way it read over the weekend in the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen. The Explorer (formerly the Northwest Explorer) and the Tucson Weekly hadn't yet hit the streets as this is written, but I'd almost bet that the pattern will hold. Given the number of awards, we can understand some reluctance to give others their due. But failing to name the "best in show" winners--the Virg Hill Arizona Journalist of the Year, Arizona Photographer of the Year, Arizona Community Journalist of the Year and Arizona Designer of the Year--is a pathetic bit of jingoism.


At the risk of sounding alarmist, it's worth noting that the Pulitzer Prizes, endowed by newspaper patriarch Joseph Pulitzer for excellence in journalism and the arts, will survive Lee Enterprises' expected takeover of Pulitzer Inc. later this year.

According to the preliminary proxy statement, Lee has agreed to maintain funding for the awards through 2009. Dan Hayes, Lee's director of communications, said the company will continue to finance the awards after 2009, and is looking forward to accepting that responsibility.

It's part of a charity commitment that requires Lee to commit one-quarter of one percent of the revenues from operations at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to charities in Missouri and Illinois through September 2009, after paying out at least $60,000 to sustain the Pulitzers. The contributions are to be made either in the name of Pulitzer Inc., or PD LLC--the limited liability corporation that "owns" the Post-Dispatch.

It's unclear how much money that entails, because Pulitzer's SEC filings don't separate the Post-Dispatch's revenues from the company's other St. Louis operations.

There's no similar requirement for charitable-commitment maintenance at any other outpost in the Pulitzer archipelago.

The merger agreement also states that if the Post-Dispatch's current editor, Ellen Soeteber, resigns or is replaced within five years of the merger, Lee must discuss the replacement with a designee selected by Pulitzer's current board. A Pulitzer-picked "designation committee" will be responsible for ensuring that Lee protects the commercial goodwill value of the Pulitzer name.


A crew from PBS' History Detectives visited Tombstone last weekend, on the trail of the OK Corral shootout legend--sort of.

They're trying to determine the authenticity of a pocket watch that turned up in a Tulsa, Okla., pawn shop. The watch, presented by a man who said he's a descendant of Wyatt Earp's sidekick, dentist-gambler-gunslinger John Henry "Doc" Holladay, bears an inscription suggesting it was Earp's gift to Holliday for services rendered at the shootout.

Holladay killed brothers Frank and Tom McLaury and shot Billy Clanton, whose fatal wound came from one of Wyatt Earp's bullets.

The show is slated to air sometime this summer.

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