Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kristin Butler Wins Journalism Award

JinC Regulars familiar with the outstanding Tuesday Chronicle columns of Duke senior Kristin Butler will be delighted but not surprised to read the following from Duke News Service:

Duke University senior Kristin Butler of Cary, N.C., has been named the 2007 winner of the Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism. She will be honored for her achievement at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26 in the Rhodes Conference Room at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy.

Butler is an opinion columnist for The Chronicle, Duke’s daily student-run newspaper.

She was honored for her March 6 article on “Soaking the Poor: With All Deliberate Speed,” which focused on how patients lacking health insurance typically are billed at higher rates at the Duke University Health System and elsewhere. Butler addressed the ethical implications of charging uninsured patients more for their treatment.

Selection committee members were public policy professors Bill Raspberry, Ken Rogerson, Ellen Mickiewicz and Susan Tifft, along with Duke Associate Vice President for News and Communications David Jarmul and Duke alumnus Richard Melcher.

The committee praised Butler’s argument for its precision and conciseness given the space limitations of an editorial piece.

“It is not often that we come across a young columnist who takes her reporting as seriously as her writing,” Rogerson said. “Kristin made a strong argument, supported by solid research and sources, crafted in a very readable prose. It was difficult not to read to the end.” (bold JinC's)

The Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism recognizes the best published article by a Duke undergraduate, and is sponsored by the Sanford Institute’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy.

Butler is the first student to win the award for an opinion column.

Last year’s winner was Jeff Stern (’07), who is now writing from Afghanistan and whose work has been published in Esquire magazine and The Independent Weekly.

The Melcher Award was created in 2003 by Richard Melcher (’74), co-founder and principal of Melcher Tucker Consultants. Prior to founding the firm, he was a writer and chief of the London and Chicago bureaus of Business Week. As a student, Melcher worked for The Chronicle.
I put Rogerson's comments in bold because they express so well how most of us view Kristin’s columns and why we value her journalism.

I left a congratulatory comment at The Chronicle.

I hope you'll make your own. Since Kristin is herself a JinC Regular if you leave it here she'll see it.

Thanks to Michael Gustafson for tip to Duke News announcement