Friday, September 16, 2005

Wanker of the Day

Jay Severin:

OCCASIONAL LISTENERS to ''Extreme Games" on WTKK are accustomed to host Jay Severin admiring himself in the mirror of his own imagination, a glass so vast and glittering as to rival the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

But last Friday, the talkmaster positively outdid himself in setting new laurels upon his brow:

He awarded himself a Pulitzer Prize.


That struck several listeners as unlikely. Once I'd heard the claim, I asked the Pulitzer folks to check it out. ''We looked at the records and there is no record of him winning a Pulitzer Prize," says Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers. Nor is there a Pulitzer for excellence in online journalism.


Now to the matter of online awards. From 2000 to 2002, Columbia University was the cosponsor for the Online Journalism Awards, awards in no way related to the Pulitzers. According to Tom Regan, executive director of the Online News Association, there is only one annual Online Journalism Award that goes to an individual. It's for commentary. Severin hasn't won that, he said.

It is true that in 2000, the first year for which those awards were given, won an Online Journalism Award for general excellence ''in collaboration," and Severin was writing columns for the site at the time. But that award ''is for the site as a whole," says Regan.

Severin, however, said that he had been told by Joan Connell, then executive producer for opinions at the site, that the prize he alluded to was for a small group of writers that included him. Connell, who is now with The Nation, says she's not even sure what award Severin has in mind. Asked about Severin's account, she says: ''I don't recall that. The awards we did win tended to be for sitewide excellence and not for the opinion sections."