Friday, May 23, 2008

UWIRE honors Chronicle's Kristin Butler

UWIRE, the leading web site for people interested in college journalism, has selected The Chronicle’s Kristin Butler for inclusion in its prestigious UWIRE 100 group.

You can view this UWIRE’s page which explains why Butler was selected, highlights key quotes from many of her columns and links to others.

I strongly suggest you do that now before continuing to read this post.

So go to the UWIRE’s Butler page right now. I’ll wait until you come back.

OK, you're back.

Well, what did you think?

Terrific, wasn’t it?

I was delighted to be one of Kristin’s recommenders.

Here’s the full text of the recommendation I sent URIRE:

Dear Anne:

Kristin Butler is an extraordinary young journalist who deserves to be included in the UWIRE 100 project.

She’s the recipient the 2007 Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism which 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’s the first student to win the award for an opinion column.

In announcing the award, Public Policy professor and selection committee member Ken Rogerson said: “It is not often that we come across a young columnist who takes her reporting as seriously as her writing. 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.”

The column for which Buter was honored, “Soaking the Poor: With All Deliberate Speed,” 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.

Outstanding journalists can have different writing styles; broad or specialized interests. But all must possess the moral courage to take the unpopular stand; to speak truth to anyone – those in power and what is often much more difficult, to those who are their peers.

Kristin has that kind of courage as seen, for example, in her Feb. 28, 2008 column, "A House Divided."

She took Duke’s leadership to task for its disgraceful response to then DA and now disbarred Mike Nifong’s and other’s attempt to frame three obviously innocent Duke students for gang rape. At the same time, she was also critical of fellow Chronicle colleagues who’ve gone along with the university’s leadership.

Here’s how Kristin began that column:

Thirteen months ago, The Chronicle's editorial board had this to say about the Brodhead administration's performance during the lacrosse case: "People should not forget to recognize the adequacy of a 'good' performance in the turbulent and charged atmosphere of the last year. And in the end, history may very well judge the University's response as sensible and well executed given the constraints and competing interests at stake."

It's hard to imagine anyone offering that assessment today.

She went on to note Duke has already quietly settled a number of lawsuits and is a defendant in others which she said were in large measure:
the logical result of administrators' decision to shirk responsibility and stymie reform at every opportunity.

From the newly disbanded Judicial Affairs Review Committee to the Campus Culture Initiative and beyond, Duke administrators have remained disconcertingly slow to learn from their mistakes, which were legion.

As the academic year was ending, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists announced Kristin was this year’s first-place winner of its student-scholarship contest and would be its guest at NSNC’s annual conference in June.

It was a fitting tribute to the work of a diligent, caring and courageous young journalists.

I hope you place her among the UWIRE 100.

I will be happy to provide addition information or answer questions.

Thank you for your attention to this recommendation.


John in Carolina

PS – If you select Kristin and need additional links to any document I cited I’ll get them for you.
Folks, last year's Chronicle editor Ryan McCartney did a good deal to provide UWIRE with material and references necessary for it to consider Kristin for selection.

He has my thanks and I know the thanks of almost all of you for that.

In a few days I hope to say more about what Ryan did in connection with Kristin's UWIRE selection.

I'll close with this: One of the hard things about writing the recommendation was I kept wanting to say to the UWIRE selection committee:

What do you mean, one of a hundred? Butler's one in a million.


Anonymous said...

Kristen deserves every award and acknowledgement she receives. It really makes me wonder just why the "reporters" at NYT, N&O, Herald Sun et al, do not get it. Kristen is a shining example of; tell the truth, do the research, report the facts and you will be rewarded. As opposed to, write opinion as news, inject adgenda, write lies, fabrications and wishful thinking, omit critical information and you will be revealed. Steve in New Mexico

Anonymous said...

What I find truly amazing about Ms. Butler is the fact that she can clearly take the heat. She receives extremely harsh, negative criticism for her opinions and yet perseveres.

With popularity being the most important motivator for most young people, Ms. Butler shows incredible strength of character to risk public disparagement with each and every article.

Being right helps but it does not truly protect someone from the pain or anger at personal attacks.

Many people, twice her age or more do not have the fortitude to stand up against such abuse.


Anonymous said...

John, thank you so much for posting this and the links to Kristin's columns. She is a courageous young woman and a writer and researcher of extraordinary integrity and talent.

I have read and REMEMBERED the content of Kristin's articles since I began reading the Duke Chronicle, and I am one of the people who chafed at missing her column when she had other academic pressures.

Kristin Butler will be an outstanding law student at OSU and will be a credit to the institution. They are lucky to have her. And the legal community will be the better for having her as a member.

All kudos to Kristin and to her family, for raising such a talented, ethical, cogent young woman. Thank you to her family for sharing her with all of us who so enjoy her work.
Texas Mom

Stu Daddy said...

Kristin Butler's recent column, "Summa Cum Loony" in the Chronicle, asks NCCU students and alumni to question why Crystal Mangum was awarded a diploma. Apparently Mangum was not disciplined or penalized for her egregious violations of the NCCU Code of Conduct.

Talk about stirring up the Eagle's Nest! There are nearly 400 comments, and counting.

I hope Kristin will write a follow up article. I also recommend that she tread carefully if she comes anywhere near the lovely city of Durham.

Anonymous said...

There must have been some heated discussions between Kristin Butler and David Graham concerning Duke’s behavior. I know there were comments that she was running down Duke’s reputation.

Getting out all the information was her job, not just facts favorable to Duke. Selecting which facts to forward is what the MSM has been doing for years.

Unfortunately, some of the indoctrinated students chose to follow the Gang of 88 into the abyss known as Marxism.

Kristin brings hope for a more honest discourse within the media. I have started to question all media news for bias. I did not learn that in college, believe me!

RedMountain said...

To stu daddy,
I agree she has stirred the pot of resentment between Duke and NCCU. However your characterization of her article is not accurate. She doesn't ask NCCU students anything. She tells them their degree is worthless.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Kristen deserves any award. I was disgusted upon reading her comments regarding her column in the Chronicle. From her current employer, the News and Observer,

"People think I'm antagonizing NCCU, when, in fact, I'm critiquing something NCCU did," Butler said Tuesday. "The fact that we can't have a lucid, temperate conversation illustrates that we can't move on."

The assertion that she wanted to have a "lucid, temperate conversation" about the policies of NCCU is ludicrous. I don't understand how presenting the results of the rape kit, not to mention questioning the girls gpa solely on her mental state, are relevant to the argument she claims to be present. Last I heard sanity and intelligence were not mutually exclusive attributes. She clearly thinks very highly of herself. I think that Kristen is what is wrong with the media in this country, she is unable to form/present a coherent argument based on facts, instead relying on sensational and irrelevant details.