Wall Street Journal Editor in Chief Gerry Baker griped about the Pulitzer Prize judges and urged his staff not to be upset that the paper didn’t win any Pulitzer Prizes this year.
In a memo to staff on Friday obtained by The Daily Beast, Baker expressed dismay that the paper’s peers won awards while the Journal was passed over. He dismissed the judgment of the Pulitzer judges, adding that the Journal “doesn’t always get all the recognition it deserves in some quarters.”
“We don’t do what we do for the sake of winning awards but it is always nice to win them, and always a little painful when our outstanding work gets completely ignored for some reason by the small, self-selected group of journalists, academics and literary mavens who sit in judgment of it,” Baker lamented.
In Friday’s email, Baker praised recent reporting about lobbyist Tony Podesta and North Korean hackers, adding that the Journal’s reporting had “a deep impact on the lives of millions of people around the world, exposing malfeasance, holding the powerful accountable, shedding light in dark places.”
“You don’t always get a medal for that but you do get something else—the enduring gratitude of an ever-growing and increasingly empowered audience,” he wrote.
Baker has been the source of some internal frustration over his editorial vision, including how the paper should cover President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration.
Though in recent months the paper has broken a number of high-profile stories about Trump, Baker been accused of being too favorable to the president. Last year, he criticized staff in a series of leaked emails for writing “commentary dressed up as news reporting.” The same month, Politico obtained a full transcript of the Journal’s interview with the president in which Baker did not attempt to correct Trump when he made obvious factual misstatements.
The incident sparked questions about whether the Journal had fallen behind competitors, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“The Journal has done a lot of good work in covering the Trump administration, but not nearly as much as it should have,” one former staffer told The Guardian last year. “I lay almost all of that at Gerry’s doorstep.”