On Pulitzer, Tim Nickens should have just said 'it was honor to be nominated'

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Certainly, you’ve heard every nominee who didn’t win a Grammy or Oscar or Tony Award repeat a familiar mantra, ‘It’s just an honor to be nominated.’

Yeah, right.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the editorial board of the Tampa Bay Times was a finalist, but not a winner, for a Pulitzer Prize.

But editorial editor Tim Nickens avoided the cliche about it being an honor just to be nominated; instead Nickens took a not-so-veiled shot at the blogosphere.

“I actually think that they’re at least as important or relevant as they’ve always been,” Nickens said, according to this story in Politico. “There are so many voices now and it’s so cluttered with blogs and everything that it’s important to have an institutional voice that is respected in the community and is going to be here tomorrow and the next year, and not going to disappear tomorrow. You know who it is. You know what the institution stands for.”

“It’s not some person sitting by themselves in their pajamas in the bedroom,” he added.

Well, Mr. Nickens, I’ll put my wardrobe up against your checked shirts and striped ties any day of the week.

Further, your comment about “some person sitting by themselves…” is dated and inappropriate.  Now, I, and my fellow bloggers, don’t have the power to summon elected officials to our boardroom, as you do, so that is why I attend briefings at the Chamber of Commerce, take two or three coffee meetings with community leaders, ask tough questions at Tiger Bay luncheons, meet with the politicians and their consultants who generally avoid the newspaper, drop by fundraisers your reporters can’t access and then sup, drink and socialize with even more of the people you can only write about.

The only time pajamas are involved is when I lay my head to sleep after a sixteen hour day during which I’ve written ten times the word count you offer in one of your editorials.

Speaking of your editorials, wanna know why you and your colleagues rightly did not win a Pulitzer? Because it would have been a lie.

The Pulitzer committee named you a finalist “for editorials that examined the policies of a new, inexperienced governor and their impact on the state, using techniques that stretched the typical editorial format and caused the governor to mend some of his ways.”

If the Times editorial board thinks its word caused the governor to mend some of his ways, they’re not writers, they’re fools.

Exactly which of the Governor’s ways were mended by your editorials?

Oh, that’s right, Rick Scott started meeting with editorial boards. How earth-shattering!

Review the list of editorials written by the Tampa Bay Times which were submitted for Pulitzer consideration and find one that led to the Governor mending his ways.

Take “Train wreck of a governor” – I believe the Governor did the exact opposite of what the Times‘ opined. In fact, that’s the case with most of the submitted editorials.

And even if the Governor had done what the Times asked for, why should one newspaper alone receive credit for such a change in policy. How arrogant to think so.

But arrogance seems second nature to Nickens who said “our entry was perhaps on a traditional subject as it dealt with the governor, but it used not entirely conventional means — and I’m thinking maybe that’s why it caught the attention of the jury.”

In a media world of infographics, interactive and otherwise, Tumblr, Pinterest and ubiquitous video, only those who have not traveled far, would say that the Times‘ editorials stretched boundaries.

Nickens would have been better off just saying it was an honor to be nominated.

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.