Audit Notes: Pulitzer Edition

The financial crisis is now more than three years old, but up to now there had been no Pulitzer Prize awarded for reporting on how Wall Street’s crucial role in creating the financial crisis.

Now there has. ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein won a much-deserved Pulitzer for National Reporting for their series on The Wall Street Money Machine, which showed convincingly how the financial industry kept the bubble going long after it should have deflated.

Read our take on the story from a year ago and read ProPublica’s whole series, which is a model for how to turn arcane financial stuff into a story that everybody can understand.

— ProPublica’s wasn’t the only business Pulitzer, though. Far from it. Chris Roush points out that business journalists cleaned up this year, winning four.

Paige St. John of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune won for her property insurance investigation (which we praised here) and The New York Times’s David Leonhardt won for commentary.

— The fourth went to the Wall Street Journal, which means, best as I can tell, that Rupert Murdoch won his first Pulitzer today. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page won for its fight against the Obama health care plan.

The Journal’s news pages, though, continue to post a goose egg since Murdoch and Robert Thomson took over the paper and overhauled it. The paper had some worthy nominees this year, and it’s notable that it’s excellent coverage of the BP oil spill was a finalist for the National Reporting prize that ProPublica won. The Journal could have easily won.

Audit Honcho Dean Starkman will have more on the WSJ tomorrow.

Congratulations to all the Pulitzer winners and finalists for their excellent work.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , ,