The rise of citizen journalism and blogging has caused many a traditional journalist and commentator to call the end of quality journalism. I’ve maintained that journalism is simply changing, just like everything else in this digital world – and quality journalism will continue to be rewarded – it is the lower value churnalism which may have been the bread and butter for newspapers and news organisations for the last couple of decades that is being rightly killed off. Indeed, quality journalism is far from dead online, as shown by the Huffington Post producing its first Pulitzer prize winner in David Wood for “his riveting exploration of the physical and emotional challenges facing American soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan during a decade of war”.
Wood’s piece is without doubt both eye-opening and engaging. It is well-written, well-researched, and published in a form and in a place where it has caused an impact. It is the longer-form sort of piece that you may expect more from the New York Times, but the world is changing and pieces like this will be written for publications where there is an audience. Whilst HuffPo may generate a lot of its traffic (and therefore ad dollars) from celebrity gossip and low-grade repackaged content, they have made a commitment to invest in real journalism – and that looks to be paying off. I spend a lot fo time highlighting the negatives of HuffPo, but credit where it is due – they are actively changing journalism and also investing in quality talent and articles.