By George Knowles

There is more evidence that digital or interactive media is becoming more important. Here’s an interesting article I found today while looking around at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americassite. The Wall Street Journal via the Associated Press reported on Dec. 8 that the Pulitzer Prize Board has expanded the rules to include any sort of multimedia storytelling tool for 2011 entries, including ones that feature graphics or video.

In a quote from the Pulitzer site, “These changes help ensure that in the multimedia age, the Pulitzer Prizes will continue to recognize the very best journalism in all formats,” said Pulitzer Board Co-Chairs David M. Kennedy and Amanda Bennett.

The most significant expansion is the fact that 12 of the 14 categories of prizes have changed their entry rules to include a wider array of journalistic tools, including videos, databases, interactive presentations or all of the above. The only categories left unchanged were for photography, where only still photos are eligible.

This recognition of the importance of interactive storytelling is a postive, and it’s coming at just the right time. Great things are being done with interactive media lately, like the recent New York Times interactive budget feature from November.

Another good example is the excellent Washington Post interactive feature, “Top Secret America” that explored the expansion of the U.S. intelligence community in the years since the September 11th attacks.

Interactive stories like this are valuable to readers not only because of their content, but of their non-linear storytelling potential and creativity. Anything that is able to harness data and inform the public is valuable, and it’s good to see technology and imaginiation help this along. It’s also good to see the Pulitzer Board recognize this.