?Plain Dealer? Reporter Wins Award from Columbia University

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By: E&P Staff

Plain Dealer reporter Joanna Connors in Cleveland is the recipient of the 2010 Mike Berger Award, which she won for her heartbreaking feature “The Sheltering Sky,” about a severely autistic son who kills his mother.

The prize, conferred by the Journalism School at Columbia University for an exceptional piece of local reporting, is named after the late New York Times reporter Meyer “Mike” Berger.

Journalism School Dean Nicholas Lemann presented Connors with the award, along with a $1,500 honorarium, on Monday during the school’s annual Journalism Day celebration. “This award,” said Lemann, “honors exceptional writing about the lives of everyday people.”

Connors’ story begins with the haunting passage, “To whom it may concern: if this letter has been opened and is being read, it is because I have been seriously injured or killed by my son.”

Among the finalists for this year’s award were Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson and Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press.

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