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Wall Street Journal On Short List for Pulitzer

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The Wall Street Journal's backdating reporting is short-listed for a Pulitzer Prize, Editor & Publisher magazine's website revealed this afternoon. Less than one day after the Pulitzer juries completed three days of judging at Columbia University, E&P has published what it describes as "a likely list of eight of the 14 journalism finalist groups." Among those groups is the Pulitzer for "Public Service" journalism, with the Wall Street Journal named as a finalist for its work on the backdating story.
The Journal broke the backdating story wide-open last year when it followed up on the work of academics whose studies had shown that hundreds of companies had granted stock options dated on days when the price of their stock was hitting historic lows. The likelihood of this being a coincidence, the academics, concluded was extremely unlikely. Far more likely was that companies had gone back and dated—or backdated—the grants to match the dates when shares hit lows, making the grants potentially more valuable to recipients than if they had been granted on dates when the share price was higher. When the Journal began naming the names of companies who had likely engaged in backdating, public scandal ensued.
Of course, there have been serious questions raised about whether the front-page scandalizing, perp-walk style coverage has helped or distorted the public understanding of backdating, and whether the Journal and others were over-hyping the scandal. But the Pulitzer juries have spoken. And it looks like the Journal is climbing its way toward the prize. Whether it climbed a mountain or molehill, well, the jury is still out on that one.

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[Editor & Publisher]