Wasn't it the New York Times that issued a rule against photos filtered by Instagram and similar? Basically, that's what was done to the first and second place news photos. They were given an HDR-ish look. (And I agree with the article's author, the photo, as originally published, looks better) The photos were modified for the contest, not for publication.
No, that photo, as a contest winner, doesn't bother me. Choosing to run or not to run photographs based on who the photographer is, that bothers me. But of course, if the people wanted top journalism, they could get it. But, as demonstrated in the UK, they'd rather watch Batman reruns than the news. Entertainment is the people's choice, so that's what they get.