03/17/2014 04:55 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2014

Will The Pulitzers Reward The Edward Snowden Reporters?

With the announcements of the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes less than one month away, media watchers are wondering whether reporting based on Edward Snowden's leaks will take home any awards.

Politico recently examined the dilemma facing the Pulitzer board. While the Guardian and the Washington Post's reporting on the NSA's secret surveillance programs have been considered "the biggest global story of the year," it is also based on leaks from Snowden — a polarizing figure who government officials have condemned.

Free Press' Tim Karr, Foreign Policy magazine's Ty McCormick, the Daily Beast's James Poulos and the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone waded into the debate on HuffPost Live Monday. All four agreed that the story was the biggest of 2013, and perhaps in several years — but some were less optimistic than others about the chances for a Pulitzer.

McCormick said it would be very "difficult" for the judges to ignore the story, and that a Pulitzer Prize would recognize the reporters who worked with Snowden, rather than Snowden himself. However, another factor to consider, McCormick said, is that the Pulitzer for public service journalism has typically gone to regional newspapers for local stories in recent years.

Karr pointed out that there is precedent for a news organization winning the public service award for a national story based on leaks, and cited Daniel Ellsberg winning the Pulitzer for the Pentagon Papers as an example.

Poulos called the NSA reporting the "most important story of the 21st century so far" and said he had "no doubt" it "merited" a Pulitzer. However, he also added that whether the story actually receives one will depend on the political statement the Pulitzer board chooses to make.

Watch the discussion in the clip above.