Monday, April 04, 2005

Pulitzer Day

It's been a big day by any measure. It's opening day for major league baseball. The NCAA men's basketball title will be decided tonight, as will the disposition of millions of dollars in office pool funds. Craig T. Nelson's birthday is today. But that's not important right now, because Monday was also Pulitzer day.

Cole Slaw Blog, which takes a more active interest in journalism than most, wishes to single out one winner: Connie Schultz of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland _ a paper which precisely one half of Cole Slaw Blog grew up reading, albeit mostly for news on the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers.

For real news our family had a subscription to The New York Times. The Plain Dealer, like Cleveland itself, just had a second-rate feel to it. It was widely accepted that the only good stories in the paper were the ones taken off the wire from other newspapers. The news that The Plain Dealer has actually won a Pulitzer will probably cause breakfast nook spit-takes all over Northeast Ohio tomorrow morning.

The only people who won't be surprised are Schultz's regular readers. Cole Slaw Blog, upon hearing the news, read several of the winning columns and was pleasantly surprised. Schultz, whose colleagues apparently had the common good sense to make her don a tiara to celebrate in the newsroom today, writes without fear. She is possessed of the sense of outrage at injustice great and small that Cole Slaw Blog once felt was innate to all persons driven to journalism.

Schultz's account of attending her church after Ohio (along with 12 other states) passed a ban on same-sex benefits was moving. And her column on how the management of one of Cleveland's tonier boites would keep the tips from the jar at the coat-check counter was, in a word, classic.

To some, this may seem a big deal to make over some scribe from flyover country. But bear in mind, this is a paper whose last Pulitzer was for an editorial cartoon about the Korean War. And it's a city whose previous journalistic achievement was having a local news anchor (from Fox, the choice of values voters everywhere) appear nude on the 11 o'clock news.

We at Cole Slaw Blog had never heard of Connie Schultz before today. But reading her columns and knowing that they've been recognized with journalism's highest honor is encouraging for both journalism and Cleveland.

No comments: