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Honoring Journalistic Excellence: Award Statements

The following analysis considered journalism award statements between 1980 and 2013 as far as they were available within this time frame. In the interest of consistency, 1980 constitutes the cut-off point because this period roughly represents one generation unit of journalists, thus spanning the career of the most senior reporters active at the time this research was conducted. The US data involves jury statements of the Pulitzer Prizes (PPs) and George Polk Awards (GPAs). Almost all PP categories had a strong investigative emphasis and this is even truer for the GPA, which does not have a separate category but promotes investigative journalism in all categories. Peabody Award (PA) statements honoring television news people and operations were also included.

In Germany, all news-relevant award statements of the Theodor-Wolff-Preis (TWP) were included, which put a particular emphasis on feature writing. The sample also includes jury statements of the Henri-Nannen Preis (HNP).

The prize was only founded in 2005 but quickly became one of the most prestigious journalism awards in Germany. The Hanns-Joachim-Friedrichs- Preis fur Fernsehjournalismus (HJFP) represents the counterpart of the PA and honors television journalism.

Award statements are typically one-paragraph long, sometimes two or three paragraphs (e.g. lifetime achievement awards) with the exception of PP statements, which are particularly short.2 The following sections deal with some key distinguishing features of award statements in both countries, which point to central differences of the occupational cultures in question.

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