The 2010 Pulitzers will go down as the year of the Washington Post—the venerable paper won four awards. The New York Times took home three. But the real winner was technology—both as a subject and as a way to deliver news.
The New York Times' staff landed the national reporting prize for its study on the increased crash risk when using cell phones (particularly to send and receive texts) and other electronic devices while driving. The story and its chilling interactive demo were published last summer and prompted widespread efforts to reduce distracted driving.
With people already starting to put their brand-new iPads on dashboards and on visors, maybe it's time for a redux.
The real underdog story is ProPublica, the first non-profit publication to win an award. The online-only newsroom's Sheri Fink won for investigative reporting for her article series highlighting the critical decisions made by a New Orleans hospital's doctors after being cut off by Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters (the story was published in The New York Times Magazine). The publication itself is a refuge for the troves of investigative journalists who were laid off in 2009.
Lastly, appreciators of journalism not found next to various breath mints in the checkout aisle can breathe a collective sigh of relief that The National Enquirer did not in fact take home a prize for its coverage of John Edwards' paternity admission. We'd hate to see the Enquirer jacking up its price.