Thursday, May 01, 2008

Kristin Butler Wins National Award

From Editor & Publisher:

Kristin Butler, a senior English major at Duke University, has won the $1,000 first-place prize in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' annual student-scholarship contest.

NSNC Education Chair Russell Frank said the second-place winner is Julia Boriss, a junior psychology major at Indiana University who receives $500; and the third-place winner is Matias Ramos, a senior political science major at UCLA who receives $250.

The winners were selected by Boston Globe/Washington Post Writers Group columnist Ellen Goodman, who'll receive the NSNC Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's June 21-24 conference in New Orleans. Butler will be the guest of the NSNC at that meeting.

A preliminary judge in the contest was columnist Suzette Martinez Standring, the immediate past president of the NSNC.
Butler richly deserves the honor as those of you who’ve read her columns know.

Following publication of her final Chronicle column (see here), I published a tribute post. ( see here)

It included these comments taken from her final column's thread:

First, from an Anon;

Thanks Kristin, for your hard work and research and guts and love of Duke. Tuesday's won't be the same without your column to turn to.

This from a commenter ID'ing as "faculty:"

It is rare to have a student columnist who presents largely unknown factual material and accompanies it with direct and thoughtful commentary. You did it. You did so especially well during the tense periods of the lacrosse saga, and then on many other topics thereafter, such as admissions. A strong institution depends on strong independent analysis and direct but thoughtful criticism, and you have provided both. Thank you for you many outstanding columns. Godspeed.


And my comment:

No sensible person could ever doubt your genuine concern for Duke. Or your moral courage. They always came through.

If President Brodhead, "Dick's senior team," and the trustees had paid more attention to what you wrote, Duke would have stood for justice and fair treatment of its students instead of engaging in a "throw them under the bus" strategy that enabled the frame-up attempt, brought shame to the University, and will cost Duke many tens of millions of dollars.

Like Churchill in the 30s, you've been an "outsider" But you were both so because you cared deeply and wisely.

Free people and history now acknowledge our debt to Churchill.

I hope in time the Duke community and the University's officialdom come to appreciate your service to Duke.

When most were silent or foolish or worse, you represented Duke at its best.

There's an Irish blessing that begins: "May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back."

Those words carry my sentiments as I join others in thanking you and wishing you well in all you do.



Be sure to take a look at the comment thread of the tribute post where others expressed their appreciation and admiration for Kristin’s outstanding work.

Earlier this year Kristin received the prestigious Melcher Award. You can read more about that here.

This post contains a column Kristin wrote about the now disbarred Mike Nifong four days before he won the Nov. 2006 election for Durham DA. It’s a “Butler classic.”

During these past two years when most were supine, Kristin Butler stood up for Duke.


Anonymous said...

I looked at The Chronicle to see what they had to say about their prize winning reporter. John, you scooped them again.

Anonymous said...


I mentioned before that I sensed the momentum had shifted. It appears the rush for the exits has already begun.

"Whatever were we thinking?" will be the common super delegate refrain.


Anonymous said...

I am thrilled to know Krstin is receiving well deserved recognition. I have always been relatively certain she would not receive accolades from Brodhead & company since she refused to shill for them. As a young woman of high character, I'm sure she prefers not being in the company of Nartley, Shadee, Graham and their "ilk."

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Bravo, Kristin Butler! She so richly deserves EVERY accolade she receives. This young woman has shown more courage in her columns for the Duke Chronicle than almost all of the supposed "adults" who populate the Duke campus. I agree with you John, "may the wind always be at her back." She is a force with whom to be reckoned.

Texas Mom

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Kristin.

You're the best.

And John, you hang in there and don't let Graham and McCartney get you down.

It's easy to see what they're up to and who they care about.

Duke '76

Anonymous said...


Re: "Whatever were we thinking?"

Sorry. I posted under the wrong column. My first mistake today:-)

Congratulations Kristin!


JWM said...

To JimB,

Thanks for noticing.

The news came after TC published it's last edition until late May.

But it often makes important news announcements between editions in main page headers.

I checked at 4:30 PM ET and it hadn't yet.

I hope it does soon.

To Ken @ 2:52,

I should have picked up you meant this comment for another post.

I'm sorry.

To Anon @ 3:00,

It is wonderful she's been recognized.

To Texas Mom,

I appreciate your comment and so will Kristin.

Where do you get your zest.

Even in the sternest days when Nifong was riding high and many were discouraged you had that zest.

To Duke '76,

Thanks for what you said about Kristin.

And about me, too.

To Ken,

IMO you don't make many mistakes and with few words you often lift and extend the discussion.

Thank you. Please let me know you've seen this.

Thank you to you all.


kbp said...

Thanks John

Used the link to thank her, give her my best wishes and let her know I was certain she didn't need those wishes for her success.

Great young lady, super journalist.

Anonymous said...

Hey John: Let's see what kind and how many awards Graham wins. The movies have their raspberries, is there an equivilent in journalism?

Anonymous said...

A Message to Peter Lange
Dear Mr. Lange,
Duke has produced a student of integrity & courage.
I've watched the web videos of you and am sure you have enough influence and integrity to wake up the sleeping "The Chronicle" and have them post this.