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The National Enquirer has nominated its stories on John Edwards' affair (and "love child") for a Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. These stories did, indeed, break a significant national story that other news media not only missed but essentially refused to believe. Though the Enquirer's stories were written with the breathless melodrama typical of the newspaper tabloid genre, and appeared on pages next to trash celebrity gossip and whatnot, the newspaper got it all, and got it all right.

Should the Enquirer be seriously considered for the Pulitzer? Choose whichever answer best summarizes your position.
 
No. The Pulitzer Prize officially rewards "distinguished" journalism. There is nothing "distinguished" about what they do; their writing and their general manner of reporting -- stakeouts, ambush interviews, concentration on the lurid, and paying sources for information -- is anything but "distinguished."
 
No, the story about John Edwards was just not important enough, in the grand scheme of things.
 
Yes. They got the story. It was a big story. They made no serious mistakes and, for this story at least, they did not resort to some of their more questionable practices, such as paying sources to talk.
 
I'm not sure.
 
 
 
A key factor in journalists' disdain for The Enquirer is the issue of paying sources. They do this regularly, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, for tips, photographs, etc. What do you think of this practice? Choose the answer that best summarizes your position.
 
It's sleazy and it subverts the entire journalistic process. If someone is being paid for information, he has a motive to lie to give you what you want.
 
It's okay if the information is factual and independently verifiable. It's not okay if the information is opinion or quotation -- something that sleazeballs can tailor, or distort, to give you what you want to hear.
 
It's okay -- a controversial but legitimate way of obtaining the cooperation of people who might not otherwise cooperate.
 
 
 
In The Washington Post and other online news sources, should people who file comments to online stories be required to identify themselves?
 
Yes. There is too much vileness out there, encouraged by anonymity; people would be more responsible if forced to stand behind what they say.
 
No. Anonymity encourages interesting, robust dialogue. It wouldn't happen otherwise. Maybe sites should better police comments to remove those that go over the line.
 
I'm not sure.
 
 
 
Okay, how about participation in chats such as this one? Should you have to identify yourself by name?
 
Yes. It would prevent hurtful or incorrect things from being said as often.
 
No. It would really stifle dialogue.
 
I'm not sure.
 
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