As the Pulitzer Prize celebrated its 100th year, journalists and prize winners from all over Los Angeles gathered to commemorate the coverage and controversies that have sparked so much conversation in past years.
The two-day event was hosted by the LA Times and USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. It began with a clip discussing the history of the Pulitzer Prize and the impact it has had on social issues and the media. After the video, Davan Maharaj, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Los Angeles Times, delivered his opening remarks and introduced the keynote speakers.
Among the speakers were Frederik Logevall, who won the award in 2013, and Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the award this year for his novel, “The Sympathizer”. The speakers discussed global issues, as well as the newer influence of social media on news.
Because of social media, news is now more accessible and can spread like rapid fire. People can chime in with their own thoughts or create their own version of the news. While Facebook and Twitter were not an issue 100 years ago, both of these social media outlets have now become news sources. While this can be positive in making news attainable, it can also have a negative effect. Stories can be twisted and people can get their news from unreliable sources.
The conversation aimed to address that issue and accept that social media is now an unavoidable part of the news. The night ended with excerpts from award-winning dramatic plays.
While many topics were covered that Thursday night, the one that stood out the most was the effect of social media on the news. In an ever-changing world, it is becoming increasingly important to change with the world in order not to be left out. As many more are finding that this is the case and quickly downloading Snapchat, this conversation served to remind us that who we are and what we can become is not defined by the apps on our phones.