Now, I’m not saying prizes are ideal. It is a bit unseemly, all this journalism glad-handing, especially when the world is going to hell in a handbasket. The whole process is subjective as hell. Matt Wuerker’s cartoons are great, but are they so much better than Matt Bors’s or Jack Ohman’s? Beats me. And, um, are politics involved in prize-giving, including the Pulitzers? Let’s just say I would not be surprised.

Prizes may not be the noblest incentive to do the hard stuff (“Hey, ma. Look at me! I won!”).

But what can you do? They’re what we’ve got.

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.