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Cleveland, Pulitzers, Woodward, and (OMG!!!!!!!) Katie!

So as we predicted yesterday, editor Doug Clifton's column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer concerning the marriage of columnist Connie Schultz and Senate candidate Sherrod Brown – and how it would affect the paper's coverage of Brown – has garnered some strong reaction, according to Editor & Publisher.

Schultz told E&P that she "listened to about 200 calls. Most of them were from women supporting me. They were angry at the idea that I was supposedly parroting my husband's viewpoints."

E&P also got a quote from National Society of Newspaper Columnists President Suzette Martinez Standring. "The public loves to see a husband and wife supporting each other," Standring wrote in an e-mail. "Unless the husband, Sherrod Brown, is running for U.S. Senate and his wife, Connie Schultz, is a prominent columnist with The Plain Dealer. Then surely, the vultures will circle."

Another story we've been following is that of recent developments with the Pulitzer Prize. According to a press release, newspapers can now submit online material for consideration "in all 14 of its journalism categories." But as the Wall Street Journal points out, "The board [that awards the Pulitzer Prizes]…said it would continue to limit the competition to newspapers that publish a print edition, rather than allow entries by online-only publications such as Slate, Salon, MSNBC.com or the many blogs that proliferate on the Web. Some online journalists argued the board needs to further expand the scope of the Pulitzers, the most revered awards in American print journalism."

One of those online journalists is Salon editor Joan Walsh, who told the Journal that the people behind the Pulitzer "have to figure out a way to honor the very best journalism … and not merely protect the newspaper industry, which is kind of what this decision looks like. Over time, they are going to have to confront some definitional issues, no question about it. If they want to follow their readers, they should start by being more creative about their decisions."

Now onto the Woodward front, which has been all quiet for a while. (As you no doubt recall, the man who helped bring down Nixon has been taking heat for his decision not to report his role in the CIA leak affair until recently, and for publicly criticizing the investigation.) Jay Rosen makes his return to PressThink with a column in which he responds to William Powers analysis of the situation, which we covered earlier. First he mockingly summarizers Powers' argument:

You see, Bob is bigger than everyone in journalism, way, way bigger. And more right too. His critics are small men, small women, with small minds and small scoops compared to Woodward's amazing record. Big, big, big.
And then he goes on the offensive:
To say Woodward is where he always is (at the heart of things) denies that there's any price to access. It asserts—falsely, I think—that if something as bad as Watergate were happening in Washington today Woodward would be the one uncovering it. I don't buy a word of what Powers is selling about his friend and benefactor, but then I didn't enjoy jock culture, either. That's what "Getting Bob" reminds me of: the twelth guy on the team bragging about the star player.
And finally, there's yet more discussion of Katie Couric today, and whether she's coming to CBS or staying at NBC or perhaps starting a fishing show on ESPN 2. (OK, I made that last one up.) This all comes on the heels of a flurry of coverage, tied to Good Morning America's rise in the ratings, about whether Couric is actually really mean or is totally nice or is really a diva or has, you know, changed.

Does all this Katiemania remind anyone a little bit of a high school newspaper gossip column in which the nerds breathlessly follow the exploits of the cool kids? I know it's a legitimate topic for discussion, since it would be a pretty big deal if Couric comes to CBS. (And as my Public Eye colleagues repeatedly tell me, tens of millions of dollars at high profile public companies are at stake as well important publicly "shared" forms, the Today show and the Evening News.) But what are we adding to the discussion at this point? "Couric plays coy when it comes to contract talks." Color me shocked. Maybe it's time all us journo-nerds abandon the Katiewatch, head outside, and make some snow angels?