The first wave of supposed leaks from the Pulitzer judging swept through newsrooms today. Both the Times and the Register are buzzing that they're finalists together in the prestigious Public Service cateory, along with a Pensacola, Fla. paper for hurricane coverage. The Times' entry is last year's series on the mess at King-Drew Medical Center. The Register's contender is a six-part investigation of toxic lead in Mexican-made candy that won an Online News Association award I helped judge last year. If the rumors are accurate (and both newsrooms had the same gossip), other LAT contenders are Ron Brownstein, up against the Washington Post's Dana Priest and the WSJ's Amy Marcus in beat reporting; and Kim Murphy for international reporting. The Sacramento Bee and the San Jose Mercury are said to be up for editorial writing. The actual Pulitzer winners are chosen by a board that includes USC Annenberg's Jay T. Harris, Stanford historian David M. Kennedy and some senior news executives and journalists. The prizes will be announced April 4 in New York.
While we're rumoring: Register staffers continue to marvel at the disbanding of the Times' once-formidable Orange County staff. Latest to leave is courts reporter Stuart Pfeiffer, said to be headed for the L.A. County Hall of Administration beat...There are whispers in the ranks (probably fueled by some personnel cuts last week) that Dean Singleton may be looking to sell the Los Angeles News Group, the organizational structure over the Daily News, Press-Telegram, San Gabriel Tribune and other papers.
* Add Register: The OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano says the paper has been laying off the sex-abuse scandal in the local Catholic diocese in part because of Orange Counry Republican politics. "Despite its professed libertarianism, the Register has served as a house organ to the local Republican Party for decades. Evidence? Click on to the Registerís blog, Orange Punch [registration req'd]."