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:
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."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:
It's hard to imagine anyone offering that assessment today.
the logical result of administrators' decision to shirk responsibility and stymie reform at every opportunity.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.
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.
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.