Over, not out

It took 39 years for a sportswriter to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Those most prestigious journalism awards began in 1917. But it wasn’t till 1956 that a sports columnist won. I hope it doesn’t take four decades for a videogame journalist to win a Pulitzer.

It took only five years of Kunkel Awards for “traditional” journalists to recognize the importance of videogame journalism. You can see it reflected in our final class of winners. Last year, The Washington Post hired a pair of beat reporters to cover videogames, and they’ve cleaned up this year, taking five awards.

Other winners were The Atlantic and New York Times Magazine. Videogames has long been mainstream, but it’s good to see journalism finally catching up.

Starting next year, SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards will introduce a videogame category as an experiment. If that works, it’ll likely spread to other contests, because journalists are conservative and uncreative when it comes to their own craft.

It was a real struggle five years ago just to convince SPJ to let me run these awards without any help from them. Now they’re adding videogames to one of their major awards program. If that keeps happening, who needs the Kunkels?

So that’s it. I hope when a videogame journalist finally wins a Pulitzer, someone will ask the trivia question, “Who won the first-ever award for videogame journalism?” Maybe they’ll google it and end up here.


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