Congratulations to TPMM

Remember how Bill O’Reilly once tried to claim he had won a Peabody Polk award when Inside Edition earned it after O’Reilly left? Well, now Josh and the folks at TPMM have won one, fair and square.

Will Bunch captures the importance of this award, for Josh, and for the blogosphere, quite well (h/t folo).

The George Polk Awards are kind of like the Golden Globes of American journalism . Not as well known as those Oscars of the news business, the Pulitzer Prize, the Polk Awards are nevertheless probably a close second in terms of prestige, and this year I am especially blown away by the quality of the work they honor.


But I want to highlight one Polk Award that shows there are emerging models for using the very tool at the root of the turmoil of the news business — the Internet — as a newfangled way to re-invent investigative reporting — by using new techniques that emphasize collaboration over competition and by working with readers and through collective weight of many news sources to expose government misconduct.


Hopefully, this acknowledgment of what one savvy blogger and his team have accomplished is a milestone that will speed the day when mainstream journalists realize that the best kind of blogger like Marshall is truly one of our own kind, using new tools and a new way of thinking to break a news story that otherwise might have not been discovered.

I think there was never a doubt that TPMM provided coverage that was instrumental in exposing the scandal. I’m glad to see one of journalisms institutions recognizes that fact.

15 replies
  1. mkls says:

    Woot for TPM!
    Marcy, your blog also deserves tremendous kudos for the way you analyze information — drawing news out of public records and statements that we wouldn’t otherwise grasp — making connections that we wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s not just a matter of digging up information — it’s making sense out of it that’s hard. And you perform an amazing service every day with your analysis and insight and (thank god for) timelines.
    During the dark days of this admiinistration, I truly think I would have lost hope without you guys.

  2. freepatriot says:

    see what can happen when you know the difference between a falafel and a loofa

    ew is my muse, but tpm is my homepage

    congrats to josh and company

    • TheraP says:

      The selfless work being done by a number of bloggers digging in to this and so many other scandals is very moving and heartening. Josh may have won this, but the truth is that many, including EW and others here, have also contributed.

      I say: Hats off to all!

      • MarieRoget says:

        So true. Congrats due here as well on excellent coverage of the USAs firing scandal- ew & FDL were cutting edge, right on top of it.

        I shouldn’t refer to it in the past- denouement for those responsible is yet to come.

  3. MarieRoget says:

    From Editor & Publisher-

    “Joshua M. Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo, who wins The Polk Award for Legal Reporting.
    “His site,, led the news media coverage of the politically motivated dismissals of United States attorneys across the country. Noting a similarity between firings in Arkansas and California, Marshall (with staff reporter-bloggers Paul Kiel and Justin Rood) connected the dots and found a pattern of federal prosecutors being forced from office for failing to do the Bush Administration’s bidding.”

    I think I hear a W00T! out in the distance there somewhere from bmaz…

  4. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    And even more remarkable when one considers that as briefly as one year ago, the MSM reporters were being told by sources on the Hill that there was nothing wrong at DoJ.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Full credit and many thanks to Josh and his team for identifying, breaking and sticking with the political firings of US Attorneys. Most especially for devising or using the data dump format that allowed thousands of readers and hundreds of commentators to pour through the DOJ documents, no doubt delivered with the defense attorneys usual “52 card pick-up” amount of chaos, to make the job as hard and long as possible (all without violating ethical obligations, of course).

    Kudos are owed, also, to EW and FDL, for effectively complementing that research, writing and publication effort. And especially for pioneering live blogging at hearings (notably, the Libby trial), which helped re-open the doors of America’s courthouses and hearing rooms, which Bush, Cheney and Addington have worked so hard to slam shut.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In a relatively short time, Josh Marshall has built a successful, small reporting empire (eg, TPM, TPM Muckraker, Horse’s Mouth and TPM TV). Along with FDL, EW and others, he is revivifying quality, popular journalism at a time when traditional media are working hard to vivisect it. The Polk Award underlines how important that work is to keeping democracy alive. Many thanks for all your efforts.

  7. klynn says:

    phred @ 9 (sorry my end not replying when I click on reply)

    You made me giggle with that!


    ”…by using new techniques that emphasize collaboration over competition and by working with readers and through collective weight of many news sources to expose government misconduct…”

    The collaboration, collective weight to expose government misconduct…I like that part.

    BTW EW, bloggers now qualify to be nominated for Pulitzers…I think you would hae a chance at one…

    This was great news for you to share. Thanks! (folo too).

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    There are several deserving authors, and some smart business owners, developing this medium. I am concerned and worried about the loss to TPMM of Spencer Ackerman’s departure, but glad Paul Kiel is helping folks like the Balkinization crew with document sharing. I also take interest in the quality of threads, which sometimes is a field in which TPMM has difficulty; yet, the parent TPM site often is too dense to fit within my fixed time constraints, so I am sure Josh doubly deserves this leading accolade which he has received. And his folks have entry into places with good informational sources; they probably qualify for journalist passes to Hearings, too. I would like Laura Rozen and some other hard working and insightful people to be in next year’s finalist assemblage. I had the pleasure of typing a few miscellaneous impromptu interchanges a while at obsidian wings, yet another site that has morphed into a new shape. Though how a leader like ew or Jane could be selected for an award is beyond my comparative research reference paradigms. Our hosts are the pinnacle.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with the point about the Josh’s comments sections. Several good commentators, such as TheraP, frequent the site, but the threads are unwieldy and vary considerably in quality.

    For my money, the best comments section on the web is here. Comments are intelligent, some thrillingly so. They stick to the main thread and are consistently polite. Infrequent forays into personal attack are usually explicable by some nauseating zinger from the White House or those who muck out its stables, like the legion of ex-DOJ officials who think Bradbury too timid in his support for torture.

    Many thanks to all for making it that way. The next eleven months will be a real test of those attributes, as will the first hundred days of the next administration.

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