Pulliam Award

This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

Information about the award by SDX Foundation and AOJ

Story, photo, video... of Philly columnist's 2015 plan 

Summary index of other recent awardees 

(reposted 1/5/2016)

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This page was current during summer 2016; AOJ is merging into the American Society of News Editors by Jan. 1, 2017.

Philly columnist named
for $75K Pulliam award

How the investigative reports began, and what to do with the money were Ronnie Polaneczky's topic at the AOJ Symposium, Nov. 14, 2015, in St. Petersburg. (30-sec videoAt right is Jay Evensen of SDX Foundation.

Research, advocacy for overlooked group

Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News will receive the 2015 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship. The $75,000 fellowship is awarded annually by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation associated with the Society of Professional Journalists and is presented at the AOJ annual conference*.

The SDX Foundation’s announcement says Polaneczky, a columnist, plans to dig deep on the topic of intellectually challenged adults, a hidden population whose enormous needs too often are neglected. 

She became interested in the topic when she learned of a 37-year-old woman last seen alive at a downtown department store. A state-paid caretaker lost track of her, and this “terribly vulnerable woman-child” was found dead, half-naked and frozen, five miles away.

The judges were impressed by the passion and critical thought Polaneczky has already brought to bear on the topic. And they were intrigued by a plan that includes not only advocacy journalism but envisions a summit and other efforts to raise awareness and spur much needed progress in the protection of needy adults.

“When you find something that really tugs at the heartstrings and also cries out for a policy prescription, that’s a winning combination,” said Todd Gillman, chairman of the judging panel. He is Washington bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News and a former president of the SDX Foundation.

Other judges were Jay Evenson, an SDX Foundation director and Senior Editorial Columnist at the Deseret News; David Haynes, president of the Association of Opinion Journalists and editorial page editor of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; and Farah Stockman, a Boston Globe columnist who won the 2014 Pulliam Fellowship.

“She knows how to do this kind of project and find the sources and dig deep, below the surface,” Haynes said. “This could be terrific. It’s an underreported problem.”

“I like the human dimension,” Stockman said. “She really brought out the humanity of a family that most people wouldn’t otherwise pay any attention to.”

“She’s bringing light to a problem that is little understood and little acknowledged in the country,” Evenson said.

Polaneczky’s body of work suggests she can deliver, the judges said.

The SDX announcement and links to background information are online at http://www.spj.org/news.asp?REF=1359.

Articles on previous Pulliam winners (summary index with links).

* AOJ Symposium2015 was Nov. 14-15 at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. Extensive reports here.

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(posted 7/30/2015 JM updated 11/19/2015 with photo, vid-link, etc)

Previous Pulliam articles

If any link with #... does not work in your browser, just go to the URL before the # and use your "find" tool (usually ctrl-F or cmd-F).

2014 school busing and race follow-up


The 34th Pulliam award goes to Farah Stockman of the Boston Globe, to study race relations since the city's school busing crisis and to seek ...

2013 toxic 'brownfield' dumps


Hugh Bailey, an assistant editorial page editor for the Connecticut Post, gets Pulliam for study of toxic brownfield dumps.

2012 helping impoverished communities


Sandra Shea, editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, to research the state of poverty in the U.S. and to facilitate coverage of impoverished communities

2011 national parks and their next century

https://aoj.wildapricot.org/Masthead-2011 (Use cmd-F or ctrl-F to search for Mark Woods)

Mark Woods, of Jacksonville, Fla., … to pursue a long-form writing project on America’s National Parks and their future

2010 the Internet and personal freedom


James Dwyer, a Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, … will use the stipend to study the effect of the Internet on personal freedom

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(Posted 7/30/2105 JM)

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