Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Times winning the 2013 Pulitzer for Editorial Writing

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The Tampa Bay Times today won journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize, for Editorial Writing. Specifically,  Tim Nickens and columnist Dan Ruth were recognized for their editorials that helped reverse the decision to end fluoridation of the water in Pinellas County

This Pultizer win reconfirms what I and so many others have said about the Times: that it is, pound-for-pound, the best newspaper in the country. No, it’s not the best newspaper. But for its size relative to its market, the Times is to newspapers what Roy Jones Jr. was to boxing.

Don’t think for one second that I personally do not recognize that this blog is a very well-fed remora because it swims behind the great white shark of a newspaper that is the Tampa Bay Times.

In winning this award, Nickens and Ruth should carve out a few dollars out of their $10,000 prize for a bottle of the good stuff for former reporter Dave DeCamp, who covered this issue for the newspaper. Sure, sure, this story would have still made it to the light of day without DeCamp, but dude put in a lot of hours at a lot of sterile County Commission meetings before this story landed in his lap. 

While they are at it, Nickens and Ruth should send a bottle to County Commissioner Norm Roche, without whose political lunacy this story would never have come about. Roche is just a gift that keeps on giving to the Tampa Bay Times.

Of course, I wish the Times could have found a little more humility in its win. Commenting on the win in an official release, editor Neil Brown harrumphed“If we don’t do this work, if the Times doesn’t speak up, who will?” Well, actually, most of the other media — TV stations, other newspapers, this blog — and, more important, the voters of Pinellas County spoke up. I’m not suggesting that the Times coverage was not central to this debate, but the debate would still have occurred had the newspaper not been involved.

Speaking of the “other newspaper”, how ridiculous does the Tampa Tribune look for having laid off Daniel Ruth all those years ago? The scoreboard belongs to Ruth on this one.

That said, Mr. Ruth doesn’t look so well in the photos I’ve seen of him celebrating his win. A little too thin, perhaps. Hopefully, this well-deserved win puts a bounce in his step.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.